The “First Annual Rohnert Park Sports Expo Fundraiser” was conducted at Rancho Cotate High School on Feb. 29 at the Theater Arts Gymnasium (TAG) Building and on the campus. This fundraiser was designed to bring the community out to help raise funds for support of sports programs at the middle schools: Technology Middle (TMS) and Lawrence E. Jones (LJMS). The theme of the event was “Sportsmanship – Community – Lifelong Fitness.” Events included a 5K family-friendly walk/run, a volleyball tournament and a basketball tournament. The hope is that this can become an annual event in support of the middle school sports programs.
So, was the first effort a success? Since it was a fund raiser, is success measured by the amount of money raised? Perhaps you judge it a success by the participation level? Maybe success is determined by the very fact it went off as scheduled without any major problems? Jeff Bradshaw, the Coach of the Varsity Volleyball Team
at the high school, when asked what he hoped for the day said he wanted “the opportunity to get the community involved and for the kids to have fun with some friendly competitions.” Judging by the smiles I saw and the laughter I heard, I think he got his wish.
Participation wise, for this venue, it wasn’t overcrowded. For a first effort it seemed reasonable. The TAG building is large and beautiful. Multiple basketball and volleyball courts were available. A couple of dozen participants in the 5K run/walk started the day’s events on the football track shortly after 9 a.m. The volleyball tournament commenced a few minutes later. Jessie Aquino, the TMS and High School JV Volleyball Coach, along with Bradshaw oversaw the volleyball competition. There were six teams – four middle school, one high school and the TMS Staff teams participating. For basketball, eight teams were scheduled to participate. This included the staff team from Evergreen Elementary, a TMS staff team, a HS team, three middle school teams, and one adult team.
Tressa Bronner, the Athletic Director and PE Teacher at TMS, said “It’s really great to see the community come together and have some fun.” As one of the organizers of the event, Bronner also pointed out other aspects of the event helping make it a success. She talked about students from the High School photography class who were walking about snapping photos to be used in a class assignment. She pointed out that the high school volunteers working the event were getting required community service credit and that TMS students were getting some PE points for participating. Mary Niederberger, a Special Ed Teacher and Coach at TMS and another event organizer, was seen here, there and everywhere. Out on the track to get the 5K started, setting up the snack table, talking with the kids and directing numerous other adult volunteers – seemed like Niederberger was in perpetual motion.
So, was the event a success? Well according to an old Chinese proverb “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.” That means a first step needs to be taken in order to reach your goal or destination. It also means that great things start with simple beginnings. Given that context, my answer would be an emphatic yes! The event was a success and I look forward to returning next year to watch it grow and expand.