Back to my Alma Mater, Encina High School for our 8th Annual Alumni Challenge.
Reflecting on the days of high school, some either hated it or considered it the best years of their lives.
For me, it was fun....full of activities (not always centered around sports). We were free to come and go on campus, and on any given day, something was always going on after school. We were priviledged to have a huge regulation pool, tennis courts, hand-ball courts, baseball diamond, weight room, music, drama, art, auto and wood shops. We even had simulators and real cars for Driver's-Ed!
Give us an excuse for a Pep Rally and we were all in for it. All four classes. Signs in the gym were a plenty. Spirit was unmeasurable for the Fighting Apaches!
Fast foward 26 years.
Politically correct regs changed our beloved mascot to a a four-legged butt sniffer complete with a metal studded collar. (I'm sure the spirits of warriors were rumbling in the there-after)
Fabulous pool? filled with dirt and covered.
Tennis courts? cracked, net-less weed filled cement.
Music, Drama Dept.? Closed and shut down.
Driver's Ed? Dial Bond Driving School and hope for an appointment before your 21st birthday.
I daresay the Art Dept survived because this gave the students an avenue to sell their wares, thus generating some desperately needed funding.
A group of Alumni (aka "old" guys) hatched an idea to have a BBQ and Basketball game with the intention of raising some money for the Sports Dept. And to make it interesting, let's have the current Varsity Team participate.
In 2000, the Annual Alumni Challenge debuted. Emails burned up cyber space with pledges and donations, and if nothing else, it was a great way to reconnect with a lot of former classmates.
A great time was had by all, and we raised an impressive $15,000.00!!!
Fast forward another 8 years, and the total amount raised so far has been over $340,000!!!
I haven't missed a game....I must say each game has been better than the year before. We've endured shattered backstops, injuries, nail-biting-double-overtime endings, unfair ref calls (come on!...give us a break...we're OLD!) and most recently the passing of one memorable Alumni. Each year proves that you don't need to bake and sell cookies, sell gift wrap or magazine subscriptions to bring in desperate moneys for programs for a school.
It's not all about Sports as it started....ALL departments benefit now as well as scholarships.
For all the Sacramento Kings and Monarch's games I have attended, I've never felt such an immense pride in the players as I do watching and cheering on our Alumni ...
I'll never waste the $10 on parking, or a $6 beer at a "pro" game again.
I'd rather save that money and drop it in the bucket for a better cause...
the kids at Encina High School.
They may not be as enriched with the times as we were, but they can surely become enriched by those that have come before them.
Oh...and this year's game? As you can see from the score board, it was another riveting ending and the total amount pledged was $45,000.!!!!
Class of 1974 and the Fighting Apaches