Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2003

It’s ‘Bash’ time again

August 20, 2003

I keep a box of "Bash junk" in the corner of my office. I put it under a table that is covered with basketball game tapes and various other miscellaneous items including spray paint, golf tournament entry forms, a picture of John Wayne, and an instructional manual to a fax machine in my office that tends to malfunction at least once a week. I keep it under the table in the corner of my office so it won't get in the way because I only need to get it out once a year. I swear that it seems like I just got the dang thing put back in its place a few weeks ago ... it can't be a year already and it can't be time for Da Bash again!

Not only is it time for the Bash, but we're getting ready for BASH IV! When a bunch of us simpletons were sitting around The Lodge three years ago with blank looks of desperation on our faces trying to figure out a way to raise $15,000 to get junior high football started, the BASH was born. Rather than try to sell 10,000 cheese logs to raise the dough, we thought we'd try to raise the money on a one shot event. We thought a citywide tailgate party before the Baldwin Bulldog football home opener might do the trick and we really didn't know what we were doing or how to go about it.

We divided into seven sales "groups" with a motley crew of sales leaders ranging from Ted Madl and Lew Ruona to Robin Elder and Mike Berg. We had a mysterious undercover cop named Gerald Cullumber and a couple other strange leaders like Scott Hall, Brian Orloff, Dennis Mills and Clint Eastwood clone Bill Scott. Tickets were an expensive $50 and we put a full-sized football figure in front of The Lodge to "paint in" to keep track of our ticket sales. We figured we needed to see an "impossible" total of about 400 tickets to raise the 15 grand and cover expenses. Needless to say, we had our share of doubters, including many of us selling tickets, as to whether we could achieve our goal.

There were a few people surprised when good old Baldwin City stepped up big time. Not only did we sell enough tickets to get junior high football going, we were able to donate a few bucks to help the band make a trip to Florida.

Now it's time for BASH IV. A couple of things have changed since the first BASH. Tickets are now priced at $25 which gets an entire family into the BASH as well as the football game. The event has been expanded to allow any school group that wants to sell tickets to share in the profits. Last year, there were around a dozen groups ranging from athletic teams and cheerleaders to the band, Vinland PTO and junior high student council. Because we have no rocket scientists helping with the BASH, things are pretty simple. Groups make $20 for each $25 ticket sold. The remaining $5 helps cover BASH expenses like printing, postage, advertising, supplies, etc. If a group sells 10 tickets, that group makes $200. With the exception of Frank Foye and Lew Ruona, everyone on the BASH Advisory Board can do the math. Some groups have made over $1,000 for "their cause" the last couple of years and in this day of tightened budgets, a few extra dollars comes in handy for sure.

Well, the BASH has turned into a "monster" in some ways. Last year approximately 1,000 people were fed at the event. Baldwin businesses have gotten behind the thing and supplied all kinds of things including food coupons, services, materials and various other items. Baker University has been generous with its support as well. The cooperation between Baldwin's businesses, the local citizenry, Baker and the school district has been incredible.

Last year I was hobbling around on crutches at the BASH. I had just had knee surgery trying to help out a knee that had been carrying too many pounds for too many years. I pulled up to lean on a fence by the softball field. I looked out on the field and a couple hundred Baldwin kids were taking part in the kids' contests. Pedro Dos Santos, my 6-foot-9-inch center, seemed to be having more fun than anyone. There were six lines of people going through the food lines and a few hundred people sitting at tables under the Knights of Columbus tent. The Baldwin High cheerleaders just got done doing a cheer on the large trailer supplied by Don Johnson. Susan Hoffman announced a raffle prize winner and turned down the sound system as Will Cooper led the Bulldog Band in a lively tune. There was a little bit of a scent of well-cooked brats in the air. The football game was getting ready to start in about a half hour and you could start to feel some excitement building.

As I leaned on the fence and looked over "Da Bash," I can remember thinking that maybe the BASH "ain't that bad of a deal." Kids having a good time ... tons of people chowing down in a fun environment with some pretty good local entertainment provided by our high school kids ... everyone getting ready to head across the street to see the home town high school boys start the football season ... maybe the BASH is a pretty good deal for Baldwin. Wait a minute ... there' no "maybes" about it. I think the BASH is a great deal for Baldwin ... no ifs, ands or buts. Best of all, every dollar generated by the BASH goes directly back to the kids in the school district.

Some of the things about Da Bash have not changed since its beginning. Those of us that organize the thing still don't know what we are doing and each year we look at each other after it's done and wonder how we survived. Also, Pedro Dos Santos will again be at the BASH helping with the kids' contests and eating untold amounts of brats and polish dogs.

Regardless, the BASH box is out from under the table in my office and preparations for BASH IV are in progress. Frank Foye and Lew Ruona will still be lost and confused throughout the process but the BASH will try to get its highly unorganized and confusing operations in gear in the next few weeks. Yeah, the BASH publicity machine is getting ready to roll and if you are a Baldwinite, you probably have only two options to avoid being asked to buy a BASH ticket at least six times in the next few weeks. The first option would be to build a concrete vault in your basement and lock yourself in it until the BASH is done. Option two would be to accompany Junior Brecheisen on a month long golfing extravaganza abroad. Both options would certainly be painful to experience and a test of ultimate endurance. In the end, you'd probably be well-advised to just buy a BASH ticket and support Mike Berg and the Baldwin Bulldogs Sept. 12 against the Paola Panthers.

See ya at Da Bash ... Go Bulldogs!

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