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Life is a Parade

On Saturday, I shot the homecoming parade of Jacoby Ellsbury in Madras, Ore. Probably the best small town parade I’ve ever witnessed.

Jacoby was a starting outfielder in the World Series for the Red Sox. Good looks and a great batting average have already made him a household name in Boston. And he only played for a few months. Next year, he’ll still be a rookie.

At first, I was concerned the parade would be a dud. The weather was crappy, cold and wet. Only a couple dozen people were at the start of the parade an hour before it started.

But as 10 a.m. neared, people gathered, the streets filled and the sun made a cameo.

The parade route wasn’t long, starting from a local park to the high school, where Jacoby was a star athlete. As his car passed people, they joined the parade, walking behind him. Jacoby had the wave to the crowd down pat.

This event seemed to be genuinely important for the people of Madras and nearby Warm Springs Tribe, where Jacoby lived as a young child.

Madras has little to be excited about. Poverty, unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse. Not the features to build a successful travel campaign on.

But here’s this young Native American star athlete, who won Pac-10 Player of the Year for the OSU Beavers in 2005, rising up as a role model and sports icon. Dreams seemed possible.

Listening to him address the town and media, he seemed humbled. How refreshing.

The town was flooded with kids wearing red T-shirts with “Jacoby 46″ on the back.

Not Ellsbury, but Jacoby. One of their own.

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