Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker
Not my problem?
It seems like I am compelled to write some iteration of this column every year and it’s not a fun topic.

Why can’t people see that simply writing a check and cheering for their kids at games isn’t enough?

 I recently went to a fundraising event for an organization that has over 100 participants in 2019, and yet there were only 8 tables sold. Less than 10 percent of the players and cheerleaders and their families were represented.  The event was fun and awesome and raised good money for the program but imagine if even half the families of the kids could have been bothered to show up.  It could have tripled the funds raised.  What a stable financial foundation it could have provided to continue to build the program on.

I saw it again recently under different circumstances.  A “mandatory” team activity was called for, and only about one third of the athletes felt compelled to show up.  Among the missing were some kids who want to be considered team leaders.  Team leaders don’t miss team activities, and the same goes for off season workouts.  Solid teams have solid participation in summer workouts.  Good teams have good summer participation, and great teams have 100% buy in.  It doesn’t always work this way, but the team that is all-in almost always beats the team with haphazard dedication.  

Social Media-The scourge of our generation?
At their base, the book of faces and other social media platforms are a wonderful thing.  Through these sites, people like me have reconnected with friends and colleagues from the past, connected with alumni from the same schools and shared our lives with those with whom we have a common history, even from hundreds or thousands of miles away.  You can find sites about antiques and sports and garage sales and everything that people are interested in.  Unfortunately, the dark side of these platforms continue to rear their ugly heads, as morons from all sides of the political spectrum find gathering places to spread their screeds of hatred and ignorance.   Here at home, people who have never lifted a finger to help anyone other than themselves feel impowered to impugn the intentions of those who have the courage and conviction to run for office and try their best to make our town a better place.  Rather than taking random personal pot shots at those in office, try throwing your hat in the ring by volunteering to help with something.  Try running for office during the next general election.  If you’re brave enough for social media name calling, surely your brave enough to put your brilliant ideas for change to the test by stepping up and leading.  If you’re not willing to step up, then kindly do us all a favor and keep your opinions to yourself, because they must not be worth sharing and they do nothing but throw shade on those who have put their heart and soul into making our world a better place. 

But on the other hand…
Major kudos to the group of volunteers and their minions who helped make Ag Days 2019 a major success.  It’s hard to believe that a core of around 10-15 people and the folks that they recruit can put on an event that entertains so many people.  In my estimation, somewhere between 500 and 1000 people found their way to Harrison Park and Main street this past weekend.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 amazingly cool cars were crammed into every possible nook and cranny of Harrison Park on Saturday.   The USA has long had a fascination with automobiles, and you would be hard pressed to find more shining examples of this fixation than what was on display right here in the river city.  Major props to Steven Akers and his family and crew for growing this thing, and for finding a way to make a sizeable donation to Mission 22, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and combats the growing issue of suicide among veterans.  

As for the main street events, the parade was so long that it nearly doubled back on itself.  The shrieks of the kids on the carnival rides rang out into the night, as did the fantastic music that was being performed on both the main street stage and the state bank stage.  There was some serious new talent on display on both days, topped off by  the Feudin’ Hillbillys bringing their infectious brand of party country to the stage on Friday, and Saturday’s entertainment took on a local flavor as Spectrum and Superbad, both excellent acts with VG connections, brought their prodigious talents to the stage for a pair of scorching hot sets, and Sunday the Gunny Sack Review wrapped things up with their concoction of gospel, bluegrass and traditional country. The quilt show allowed area quilters to demonstrate their amazing artistry.  The food vendors were diverse and amazing, the school was highly involved as were all the local businesses who cared to be.  In other words, if you didn’t find something to like, you weren’t trying, and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings.

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