It worked. "The Movement" actually worked. Cameron Stuart, a 16-year-old student and Boston Red Sox fan at Rockland (Mass.) High School made it happen. Stuart got NESN reporter Jenny Dell, the steady girlfriend of Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, to be his date at Rockland's junior prom Thursday night.
The kid is a hero. And he also should get college credit for pulling off such an unlikely date. As a junior, no less. He's still got a year of H.S. dating eligibility left! He's so going to rule the school next year. All kidding aside, any teen hearing of Stuart's prom ought to draw inspiration. Asking someone your own age out on a date can seem like the toughest assignment in the world. Stuart, it would seem, had a higher degree of difficulty.
The funniest part: On the way to the dance, Stuart talked on the phone with Middlebrooks — who was on the road with the Red Sox at Minnesota — and double-checked to make sure the date was OK with him. Dell, as quoted by the Enterprise, said it was "very gentlemanly" of Stuart to ask. It only confirmed to Dell, who had to sacrifice her job as Red Sox dugout reporter after she and Middlebrooks went public with their romance, was doing the right thing by accepting Stuart's invitation.
So, how in the name of Sweet Caroline did the kid pull this off?
As with many world affairs these days, it started on social media. In October (this was a long game), Stuart contacted Dell using Twitter. It's not like she hasn't been asked before — to proms, to weddings, to whatever. This was the first time Dell accepted, she said, because of Stuart's earnest and concerted effort. From the Enterprise:
“I thought it was fantastic,” Dell said about Cameron’s Twitter invitation. “When you see someone that puts that much time and effort into something, you have to take the time and give him the benefit of the doubt.”
What is it about Dell that does it for Stuart? Well, she's "pretty hot," he says. A "dream girl" who shares his love for sports — particularly the Red Sox.
From The Veritas, the Rockland school paper, back in November:
Stuart did a great job spreading the word. He even went to a Red Sox playoff game, leaving Sticky Notes at Fenway Park and the T Station at Kenmore Square. The whole movement meant a lot to Stuart. He said, "It would pretty much make my life. It really couldn't get much better than that."
Dell obviously realized this, and she didn't mail it in, either, by making a brief appearance for the paparazzi and splitting. Dell came to Stuart's house for pre-prom pictures with his friends and family. She danced the night away with Stuart and the other kids. She took Stuart seriously and made a commitment to making sure he had the time of his life.
“I found out what real nervousness is, I can tell you that, but I think it’s subsided now,” Cameron joked after snapping a few pictures with Dell. “I feel like a million bucks.”
By reading The Veritas and Enterprise stories, it's also easy to see how much respect Stuart's teachers have for him. An English teacher, Ms. McDonough, put it like this:
"I have come to greatly admire Cameron and the pursuit of this dream. Most of us foster private hopes, but very few actually create a plan to make them a reality."
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