Wednesday, September 15, 2010

3rd Annual Charity Softball Tournament - Update

While I'm gathering all the pictures from various photographers, I thought I'd go ahead and post about the event now. Friday afternoon started off with just one hiccup, but once we worked through it (I dried my eyes and picked up my chin), the pool games were on at both Valley and Cottonwood softball complexes by 4:00 p.m. We all headed over to Cottonwood after 7:00 p.m. to begin the skills contest! This is our favorite because the music is blasting and all the players get their groove on. The 10 year-olds are the cutest because it is their first time learning how to participate and their enthusiasm is off the charts. Just look at this little one's intensity!
Spirit ribbons were provided to all the teams to represent support for Nick; all the teams and their parents were encouraged to wear them. One team in particular, the Rebels, tied the ribbons to their jerseys, which were worn backwards, topped off with their hats also on backwards to show they were WACKY! The UC Strikers painted their hair bright florescent colors, also promoting the WACKY theme. Note both these teams are 10u - too cute.

We were priveleged to have Shelby Abeyta join Nick in handing out the prizes. Shelby is also a cancer survivor and a softball player, as well. Many of the players know Shelby and there were lots of hugs and congratulations to see her look so good! The chaos was paramount but the excitement uncontained. Nick and Carly were able to have their slow-pitch face-off game. Carly had hoped to stack her team with her friends from the SLCC softball team (their coach caught wind of it and said "No way!") so Carly had to scramble to make a team. She didn't have much fun at first, striking out her first 4 times at bat. The umpire of the game was kind and said to her as she dragged her bat behind her, walking to the plate, "Aw, c'mon kid, 8th time is a charm! Get in there and hit it!" So she promptly hit a triple, redeemed herself as a ball player and gave props to the ump as she rounded 2nd base. Her team still got creamed but the smiles never left their faces - well except Carly when she was up to bat again.Saturday morning teams continued to play, eventually ending up back at Cottonwood to play the championship games. We were thrilled to have Corey & Lisa Nielsen from First Descents join us, driving from Colorado to be with Nick, who came to watch the final games later that evening. Nick's aunt Chris & uncle Stan also flew over from California and his grandparents flew in from Washington to participate in all the fun.

Two championship games went into extra games; fortunately, the weather was incredibly perfect and the evening was quite nice. In the 16u bracket, Crush took first and Lady Freakz took second; 12u bracket, Hot Shotz took first and Surge took second; 10u bracket, UC Strikers took first and Surge took second.

Many people shared with us their own stories of how cancer has invaded their lives. Many admired Nick's perseverence to be at the tournament when he wasn't feeling very well, but insisted on handing out the tropies. Many shed tears but everyone had a great time for a great cause. I'd like to share one of several emails I received:

"Dear Lori,

I want to thank-you and your son for putting on such a great softball tournament this last weekend. My daughter plays for The Lady Freakz and she was honored when your son handed over the trophy for winning 2nd place for the16U. At first, she was upset for not winning 1st place and then your son put life in prospective – Every team that played and raised money for the WACKY tournament did win 1st place.

I pray that your son gets well soon.

Thanks again!
Jennifer Beavers"

This tournament would not have taken place without an extraordinary team of supporters. I would like to thank the following:

Liza Goodman, SL County Parks & Rec - for donating the parks and staff (especially her field crew chief, Shannon, who did a phenomenal job)
Bridgette Bertagnolli - for the design and ordering of the pj bottoms and slogan tee shirts and miscellaneous items donated for prizes
MSG Brad Wilkinson - for donating items from the National Guard
First Descents - for sending amazing reps to support the tournament and providing miscellenous FD materials
CureSearch - for sending Denise Bayles over to support the tournament
Jennifer Stahle - for input during our planning meetings and ordering the WACKY pins
Matt Thornley - for input during our planning meetings and donating items
Joyce Stacey - for the tee shirts given to the teams particpating this year
Brandon Newby - for the design of the tee shirts
Brian Clark, Ringor Sports - for providing the skills contest prizes
Devon Anderson - for organizing the volunteer assignments at Cottonwood
All the volunteers at Cottonwood, especially the entire Anderson family, for all their hard work
Ralph Anderson (no relation) - for organizing the umpires, who ALL donated games to the cause
Travis Sutherland - for preparing the brackets
Jerry Coleman - for waiving the sanctioning fees and providing the softballs
Tanya & Rae Gall (and Jayden) - for donating items to the snack cart, providing a canopy and volunteering for the concessions
Todd Raitt, Carly Raitt, Leigh Corbin and Whitney - for volunteering
Jenn Reynolds - for providing the spirit ribbons and volunteering as a scorekeeper
Jennie Magnesen, Denise Cummins, Jerry Gill, John & Ginger Balcom - for being floater volunteers wherever needed throughout the entire tournament (which was everywhere and often)
Ty, Bo & Andrew - for volunteering as scorekeepers
Chris & Parker Hall, Terri Thompson and Alane Macrum - for volunteering
Wes White & Ren Parkin - for organizing and running the skills contest
Nannette White & Craig Cummings - for photography
Jon McGowan - for providing the music
Chris & Stan Ulvin - for registering a "Team of Angels" and the Angels Rally Monkey

For all the players and coaches who came to fields with strong hearts, competitive spirits and unwaivering positive attitudes to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

And a special thank you to Lee, my husband, for encouraging me to keep going, not to quit and the amazing help he had in the overall operations at Cottonwood. This tournament would truly not have happened without him.

Blessings to all of those that participated and demonstrated patience as a softball mom tried to put together a tournament that would be fun, while raising money and awareness for childhood cancer. Your love and support for Nick has been overwhelming and quite humbling. We hope to see you again next year. Pledges are being collected now through the end of September and I will keep the blog updated with progress.

With extreme gratitude,

Lori Brower


Anonymous said...

Lori and one and all.... You guys are truly amazing. You put together a wonderful tournament. Your determination and strength shines through. You keep us all going!! Thank you for a great fun filled weekend. GM Jennie xx

Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Lori,
Ditto Jennie - an awesome event! And selfless service by so many. "But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness" Proverbs 14:22
Everyone's faithfulness to the 3rd Annual Wacky's Softball Tournament sure filled Valley and Cottonwood Complexs with love last weekend. May God bless all who now carry this memory in their hearts.
Love, aunt Chris

car donation said...

A very encouraging story and post. This can be an inspiration for people who have cancer.

Chris Ulvin said...

Happy Easter 2011 Nick,
The 3rd Annual Charity Softball Tournament was "perfect" as is God's love for us through His son Jesus. May God be doing a powerful healing work in you Nick. Amen.
Love, aunt Chris

Dear Lori, your postings on the tournament and Nick's picture of the Angel rally monkey around his neck gave me a visual picture of this mornings proverbs reading: "Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablets of your heart". Proverbs 3:3
God bless you Lori. Amen