Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

Special “My Wish” memories will endure for producers

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesday, Front Row brought you overall perspectives from four producers of SportsCenter’s 2017 “My Wish” features. Today, the producers share their most memorable moments.

Kris Schwartz (Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott/Raymond Melgarejo Wish):

“People are always so gracious when they hear it’s a project related to Make-A-Wish and more than 100 people came out to support Raymond and his involvement with the Santa Ana Pop Warner League when we revealed to him that he would meet Dak Prescott. And then when we were at the Cowboys headquarters, not only were Dak and head coach Jason Garrett so accommodating and enthusiastic with Raymond, but when [team owner] Jerry Jones arrived right before the start of practice in his helicopter, Emily Cruz Robbins, the team’s extremely-thoughtful Community Relations Director, asked Jones if he would come meet Raymond. Not only did he oblige, but – completely unprompted – he offered to have the pilots take “Ray Ray” up in the helicopter after practice. There is just so much kindness surrounding the ‘My Wish’ series.”

Lauren Stowell (NASCAR driver Danica Patrick/Gabby Jahn Wish):

“Gabby’s wish reveal was one of the more emotional wish experiences I’ve been a part of. Surrounded by friends and family at her home track, Gabby broke down into tears when she viewed the video message from Danica. But what made the moment even more special was seeing Gabby’s paternal grandfather, who was battling terminal cancer, there in the grandstands that day. Sadly, David lost his battle with cancer just three days before Gabby and her family left for Daytona. To be able to meet and spend time with David that day, and to hear him talk about how proud he was of his granddaughter, was really special.”

Dominique Goodridge (Los Angeles Dodgers/Lazaro “Ziggy” Monarrez Wish):

“What stood out to me was how accommodating the Dodgers were in making Ziggy’s wish come true. Every part of the day was thought out, especially the time with his favorite player, [pitcher] Clayton Kershaw. When the rotation was determined and we knew he would be pitching that day, I knew he would be excited to see his hero pitch but that it was a slim chance they would get to meet because of the timing. Not only did [Dodgers] manager Dave Roberts introduce Ziggy to Clayton before the game, but after Kershaw was taken out in the sixth inning, he had a private meet-and-greet with Ziggy before the game even finished. I cannot explain how rare and special of an opportunity this was, and I was so happy we were there to capture that moment for Ziggy.”

Dale Mauldin (Jalan Sowell Wish):

“Jalan’s [pictured in the banner at the top of the post with host Chris Connelly] personality is infectious. Any time we were around him, we felt this upbeat energy. He was given maybe 10 minutes notice from the director of the football camp that they were about to tell his story to the campers as part of the [“My Wish”] reveal and he did it amazingly. You could see in the crowd that he was inspiring people. His presence comes through really well on camera.”

Molly Mita contributed to this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s “My Wish” on SportsCenter (1 a.m. ET edition) features Jalan Sowell, 16, who has chronic pulmonary embolism and wanted to produce and be the subject of an inspirational ESPN feature. A one-hour compilation of this year’s ESPN “My Wish” Series will air Sunday, July 23, at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on ESPN2.

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