Sunday, October 26, 2008

How To Cook A Community Event

On the few occasions that I watched TV's "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump, the thought kept popping up, "If he had the PTA ladies of Hillcrest High School on his show, they'd blow this competition out of New York." IJS, over the last 13 years I've seen these women produce some incredibly unbelievable results. At today's 4th Annual Hillcrest Baseball Hit-A-Rama I was reminded of how excellent these mommies are at pulling off something that our community responds to.

By far the busiest of the annual competitions, today's huge showing of alumni meant we had enough "kids" for 4 teams playing in a championship baseball game. Meeting the challenge against old friends were grads stretching from 1982 to 2002. Chris Mann ('01) was there, as were the Scovell boys ('92, '97, '99) , and a couple of guys whose Hillcrest sports experience led to careers in journalism: John Engleman ('92) and Jason King ('93). Some alumni parents came, there were even families with three generations present since several graduates have made the choice to raise their kids in the same neighborhoods they grew up in.

The player program highlights their accomplishments since graduation, as well as highlighting the detail that these ladies went to in order to make the day special. Besides the player's years at Hillcrest and the Honors they earned while there, it updated their current lives and included favorite memories of their time playing baseball for the great Coach Mike Tovar. A number of them mentioned their favorite memories came at the expense of perennial rival W.T. White in a district championship game. Looking at where these boys have ended up has cemented my belief in the public schools in Dallas, especially when I look at my own senior's class of students.

Besides the games there was a silent auction with autographed baseball memorabilia: a Derek Jeter baseball, a Roger Clemens jersey, and some items signed by Hillcrest grad Matt Sulentic. Woodlands Grill and Royal Thai generously donated gift certificates, and this was the time to buy if looking for unique "Panther" themed items. Photo buttons were being made to order, the cheerleaders were painting faces, little kids had a bounce house, the new concession stand was grilling dogs, brisket and cheeseburgers, so much to choose from!

It was crazy fun. So much so, that while I was manning the silent auction I bid on a Mark Cuban talking doll - I absolutely had to have it - it was crazy and fun and worth all the $XXX it cost me.

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