***Stop 4 on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Greenville (SC) Drive***
There was an electricity in the air at Fluor Field on Tuesday night – the atmosphere felt big league-like.
Fans were everywhere – lining the streets, more than twenty deep in the bag check line and shuffling shoulder-to-shoulder along the stadium’s concourse.
The playfully dismissive chuckle of the young man behind the ticket window as I asked for my 8 tickets said it all – tonight was special. You see, the game was a sell-out because Tim Tebow was in town.
I tried my best to check out all parts of the Greenville Drive‘s beautiful ballpark – the mini version of Boston’s famed “Green Monster” in left and the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson Museum located just outside the gates on the third base side. But, I’ll admit that my eyes constantly scanned the grounds for the visiting team’s #15.
The crowd and I watched Tebow’s every move. And, he seemed to have the routine down – tipping his cap intermittently as he tried to blend in with his Columbia Fireflies teammates while stretching or running wind sprints.
The only real hint of his celebrity status was the mob that formed when the broad-chested rookie stopped for a selfie with a young fan in the first row on his way to the team’s dugout.
While I hung on each of Tebow’s steps, my kids couldn’t have cared less about the former Heisman Trophy winner turned current Minor League ballplayer.
In fact, when they realized that (a) they weren’t going near Tebow and (b) he wasn’t going to give them a baseball, they moved on to other activities – like begging us for ice cream, looking for the mascot or complaining about not catching a t-shirt thrown into the crowd at the end of the first inning.
Their indifference for Tebow, to me, was refreshing – and why I adore the Minor League experience. Fun at a game, for them, has nothing to do with who is on the field.
In their eyes, the players are all stars and only a small part of capturing their attention. In fact, giving a high-five to the Drive’s mascot, Reedy Rip’It, was as cool to them as a front row selfie with the visiting celeb.
For me, Tim Tebow brought a Major League experience to our time with the Greenville Drive.
To my kids, though, that electricity already existed without him.
A Day Spent in Greenville, SC with Kids
We pulled into town during the early afternoon and made our way to Falls Park for a picnic.
As we munched on ham and cheese sandwiches and marveled at the beautiful downtown scenery, Emersyn (20 months) and Everett (4 years-old) played in a railroad themed splash pad.
Their bathing suits were packed away, but there was no stopping my two littlest kids from getting drenched by the water shooting in all directions.
After lunch, we walked on the Swamp Rabbit Trail to the Liberty Bridge – a visual and engineering marvel looking over a picturesque waterfall right in the heart of downtown. The vantage point from the center of the bridge may be the most memorable sight of our trip to date.
Our day ended at the Swamp Rabbit Lodge – a lovely cottage located outside of Greenville, along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. While the Swamp Rabbit Inn’s original location in downtown Greenville is a community staple, we found the Lodge to be a perfect, family retreat. In fact, the size of the property actually made my family feel small. We had rooms and beds to spare as the Lodge sleeps up to 24!
We ended our Greenville trip with a short walk from the Lodge to the trail – the site of several twenty-five yard races between my 8 year-old daughter and her 4 year-old brother.
Whether it be walking through downtown or enjoying our countryside retreat, I left Greenville wishing I could spend more time in this lively, outdoor-embracing city.
One thing is for sure, we’ll be back – and, next time, we’ll bring our bikes!
About Greenville, SC:
Nestled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville, South Carolina has combined traditional southern charm, stunning natural beauty and an unexpected contemporary cool to create one of America’s hottest emerging destinations and fastest growing cities.
From a revitalized downtown ranked among “America’s Ten Best” by Forbes Magazine to downtown Greenville’s one-of-a-kind Liberty Bridge, quaint shops, boutiques, and fabulous restaurants to a world-class collection of museums, galleries, and theaters to some of the most beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains in the world, Greenville, South Carolina is everything they say it is and more.
Check us out and see for yourself why we’re not just any Greenville – we’re THAT Greenville.
The next stop on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Tennessee Smokies