A Bucket List Check Off for Golden Valley Man
After suffering a heart attack last year, 91-year-old Emery Erickson is on a quest to check off items on his bucket list.
Last year it was throwing out the first pitch at a Twins game. On Thursday night, it was the Timberwolves turn to fulfill a dream.
In downtown Minneapolis Thursday, a sellout crowd of nearly 19,000 fans packed the Target Center to see the Timberwolves play the Boston Celtics.
The occasion drew national television crews, plenty of enthusiastic selfie-seekers, and one Golden Valley man who served in the second World War.
“You just see the size and the speed of these people, of these guys, these players, and they’re wonderful,” said Emery Erickson. “They’re very talented.”
The 91-year-old Erickson has been to basketball games before, but there’s been one thing missing from the experience.
“Well I had a bucket list that I thought it would be fun to some day sit at courtside for a Timberwolves game,” he said.
Erickson put together that bucket list after his heart attack last year. Now friends are helping him cross the items off that list.
“He’s like a second father to me,” said Brenda Beam, a friend.
Beam is a marketing and public relations professional who has known Erickson for 35 years. She also happens to know the current CEO of the Minnesota United soccer team, Chris Wright.
“And I wrote this long, hand-written note, explaining who Emery was, all the neat things he had done in the community locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; and a little bit about how that was on his bucket list.”
The letter apparently resonated with Wright. Thursday night, Erickson was Wright’s special guest in his court side seats.
“So yeah, I’m hobnobbing with all of the big shots here,” Erickson said.
We last met Erickson in April when he crossed another item off his bucket list — throwing out the first pitch before a Twins game.
It was an experience made possible thanks to those closest to him and their connections.
“He’s a humble man,” Beam said. “He’s so humble and grateful, and he’s always there to help everybody else. It’s about time that it’s his time.”
Kind words about a man who’s enjoying every second of these new experiences.
“Over the last year I’ve been honored in very different ways, and I appreciate it,” Erickson said. “It’s wonderful.”
As for what’s next on Erickson’s bucket list, friends say they’re making plans for him to attend a Minnesota United soccer match this summer.