It doesn’t happen very often but today I am going to sing the praises of something in Terre Haute, well kind of.
This past week I had the privilege of working with the folks from the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association as they prepared for their 9th Annual All-Star Game. From the first meeting I had with them back in January to Saturday night, each time dealt with them was more enjoyable than the last.
Let me start from the beginning. Back in January I was contacted by Greg Barrett who is the President of the WVFCA (head coach at North Putnam) about broadcasting the game on 1130 The Fan. I was then invited to their first meeting later that month where the players and coaches came together for the first time. From then on, the WVFCA, Coach Barrett and the All-Star Game Director Tom Jones went out of their way to help us (1130 The Fan) with the broadcast. From interviews, to roster updates, to giveaway ideas at the game, they were unbelievable to work with. Then this past week I was out at practice asking questions, every one of which was answered with a “YES”.
Me: Hey Tom, can I hang a banner?
Tom Jones: YES
Me: Hey Coach Barrett can I get the players to stick around after a two hour practice in the heat to go over pronunciations?
Coach Barrett: YES
Me: Tom, any chance we can get a few mentions of the PA?
Me: Hey Coach Barrett, will you name your next child after me?
Coach Barrett: YES
Okay that last one was a lie but you get the point.
At the end of practice on Friday I was invited to their banquet that night which is normally reserved for the players, their families, coaches and their families in addition to the hall of fame inductees and their guests. I accepted and went to one of the best and well planned sports banquets I’ve ever been to. Mike Leonard the head football coach at Franklin was the keynote speaker and blew the audiences socks off. The Hall of Fame inductees were men of great character as well as legendary coaches. The players were given beautiful watches. And the entire program was shorter than most movies.
First class all around.
Saturday rolled around and there was rain in the forecast, it showered on and off in the morning. I arrived at the stadium and there they were trying to figure out how to handle a small issue. That issue, a scoreboard that didn’t work oh and the fact that the rain might have turned people away. Have no fear, this is their ninth game, they handled it like true pros.
Oh yeah and Tom while you are running this game I’m going to need you to come up at half time and give me a five minute interview. His response, “Not a problem”.
The game goes off and most didn’t even notice the scoreboard issue and the rain stayed away. The Gold Division beat the Black Division 18-0. Another WVFCA All-Star game is in the books and another great job done by the WVFCA.
I take as much pride if not more pride than most people from the Region. But I also know when you’re beat, the Region is beat on this one. There is nothing like this all-star game back home and most likely nothing close to it in the entire state. A lot of “all-star games” and “tournaments” are tagged with that “One of the best” line and the sad fact is that most don’t live up to the hype. This one does. First class from top to bottom and for once the Region could take a few notes. Pick it up Region, you’re making me look bad.
Lastly I want to say congrats to Tom Jones, Greg Barrett all the members of the WVFCA, the Hall of Fame inductees, players and coaches and the fans. It was a terrific week capped off by a terrific game. To Tom and Greg thank you for all your help and thank you for setting the bar so high for other organizations in not only this area but the state.