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Father, son camp out as 1st in line for Ducks tickets

Charlie Kramer and his 11-year-old son Ryan are

Charlie Kramer and his 11-year-old son Ryan are the first fans in line to buy Long Island Ducks tickets. (March 19, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by Ed Betz

It was hour 31, and an 11-year-old boy was tucked inside a blue tent at Citibank Park in Central Islip, staking his claim by taking an afternoon nap.

This year, for the first time, Ryan Kamer and his father, Charlie, are first in line for Ducks baseball tickets.

"He's exhausted, look at him!" Charlie Kamer said after his son crawled out to greet a visitor.

Ryan, decked in Ducks gear, nodded with a grin.

The Kamers have waited here, outside the ticket booth, every March for the past five years. But they've never been in the coveted first spot. That honor was held for the past seven years by Dick and Ron Van Cott, an adult father-son team.

But this year, the Van Cotts, planning a March vacation, told the Kamers it was theirs if they wanted it.

And they did.

"He had to stay on the honor roll," Charlie Kamer said of Ryan, a sixth-grader at Longwood Middle School in Yaphank, who missed two days of school to camp out starting Thursday at 8 a.m. "But that wasn't an issue."

Ryan has extra homework to do - social studies, science, math and a journal about his experience.

He listed their survival gear: camp stove for crab cakes and hot dogs, an electric heater and a laptop with Wi-Fi playing the sport radio station, WFAN. (Dad had been using it to watch March Madness.)

"We're roughing it," the boy deadpanned.

The Kamers have a home filled with sports memorabilia, balls and bats autographed by favorite players.

Ryan's current favorite is Ducks outfielder Ray Navarrete. He likes to blow the Quacker - a duckbill-shaped noisemaker that hangs around his neck - in appreciation, from the family's usual seats behind home plate.

Although Ryan wasn't the first fan in line last year, he was the first kid.

The Ducks presented him with a special jersey: Kamer, No. 1.

This year, if they stick it out until 10 a.m. Saturday, they'll win an undisclosed prize.

But the real prize, father and son said, is baseball.

"It's just one of the greatest feelings," Ryan said.

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