When I got an invite to attend the launch day of Thomas The Tank Engine making a return visit to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum for the first stop of the "Day Out With Thomas" 2014 tour, I jumped at the chance to bring along the family for some much-needed family time.
It turns out that Miami Heat star Chris Bosh was thinking the same thing when he joined the special event as the honorary conductor for the inaugural ride on Thomas at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Bosh also participated in a story reading for local kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and Read2Succeed, a Miami-based literacy organization, before hopping on board and taking a 20-minute ride with Thomas.
Inside the train, Bosh sat with Jackson on his lap, who was completely absorbed with a wooden Thomas train set thoughtfully set up on a table. To his left sat his wife Adrienne along with his first-born daughter Trinity, now 5. (Baby Dylan who was born in November skipped the event.) There I was given a few minutes to sit down and talk to him one-on-one.
It's easy to solely think of Bosh, the basketball player. Though we'll often see him immediately walk over to his family to greet them at the conclusion of a home game at the AA Arena it's still in the context of his profession. So it was a nice change of pace to put basketball aside for once and get to know Bosh, the family man, a little more...
What attracted to you to come out for this event and bring the family along?
Yeah, we had heard about it and I received the opportunity. It's such a natural fit for me because my kids watch Thomas all the time and, you know, if your kids watch it then you watch it. I remember it from being a kid myself. So we've visited (Gold Coast Railroad Museum) before and to know that Thomas was going to be here was a no-brainer for me.
How important is it to do these kind of family events here in South Florida now that you've settled here and created your own family since joining the HEAT?
It's awesome, just to be able to have my kids around me doing things like this. Because usually I have to go and come back and the kids can't always participate in things. But when you have the opportunity for them to not only be here but to have fun with it, it's an awesome experience. Also, we get to bond a little bit just going on little day trips so it's awesome.
Are there similarities between your family and the brotherhood forged with your HEAT teammates?
Absolutely, you know, family is family. It's pretty much the same, of course with these guys (motioning to his children) we change their diapers and watch after them and everything. But just to have that kind of family element and not only in the house but at the gym, I think it's important for success. It just helps you get through all these tough times that may come your way and you can rely on each other to kind of pick each other up and get you through some situations.
With a month like February where you barely had any home games, how do you stay in touch with your family and deal with not being there with them?
Well, FaceTime is huge. We Skype a lot too. My wife is always sending me pictures of the kids and what they did that day. Any time they go on their adventures, any time they go to school, anything they do she's sending me pictures so when I'm on the road I'm able to just relax and just kind of know that they're okay.
How special is it to see your kids growing up before your eyes and seeing them learning about Thomas and the kinds of things maybe you were into when you were a kid?
It's kind of weird because I always saw myself as a father but now with this happening it's kind of surreal. Just to know that I'm responsible for all three of my kids and my wife and my household, it's a huge responsibility but it's really amazing just to see them grow and interact. (Jackson) is trying to talk and put words together now so it's fantastic, it really is awesome.
Day Out with Thomas: The Thrill of the Ride Tour 2014 will be at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum March 1-2, 8-9. Tickets are on sale now and available by calling Ticketweb toll-free 866-468-7630, or by visiting www.ticketweb.com/dowt or gcrm.org. Ticket prices are $20 plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges and fee may apply).
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