Let’s face it, Weaver is ‘unique’
Every time about this year, everyone gets settled back into the school mode. Whether you have preschoolers through graduate students, it's a rite of passage come August. Even those without kids have to make adjustments, too. There's more traffic, the school zones are in effect, etc., etc.
Baldwin is no different than anywhere else in that regard, with the possible exception that the vast majority of towns our size don't have a Baker University. Thank goodness, we do.
What the university means to the rest of the community is sometimes forgotten, taken for granted. Well, it shouldn't be.
The obvious jump in population every August means many things. You can bet the local businesses sure love it. All those students, and we're talking about above average students in many ways, help transform Baldwin into a very unique small town.
Over the past five years, we've witnessed that even more come August. Sure, the students still file in like they have since 1858. Sure, there's more traffic and parking spots around the university are at a premium. That hasn't changed.
What has changed is we all get a real good dose of all the good the university means to the community through the brainchild of one of Baker's most popular icons and one of those rocks of the community. Yes, that would be Rick Weaver and, yes, that would mean the Bash.
Mention Weaver and rock at the same time and, of course, you come up with rocks in his head. That's probably true, but I don't want to see any X-rays or brain scans from that guy. No telling what's in there.
I've run across plenty of characters over the years in this business, but nothing quite like Weaver. He's a promotional genius and if none of the other wild things he's done over the years doesn't convince you, the Bash sure should.
I remember vividly when Weaver came into my office five years ago and pitched the Bash at me. The idea was to raise the $10,000 needed to start a football program at Baldwin Junior High School. That was good and something I certainly felt strongly about.
But, he wanted to do it in one fell swoop. He wanted to have a tailgate party before a Baldwin High football game and charge $50 a person to get in. Well, that's where he lost me. I told him he was crazy, that it would never work.
Well, I was half right. The Bash did, indeed, work that year, raising more than the money needed to jump start the football program, which was sorely needed. Equally as amazing, the Bash has worked every year since, although the cost was cut in half to $25 a pop.
Friday was yet another round of proof for Weaver. More than a thousand people came to the Bash, going through the lines for polish dogs and hot dogs with all the trimmings. The kids were playing games, the band was playing, the cheerleaders cheering, the pommers pomming and everything else that goes into that amazing phenomenon we call the Bash.
It's the result of lots of work by lots of people, but it wouldn't be possible without Baker University, which donates the food, supplies and a host of people to make it happen. Our hats go off to them.
But, mostly it's Weaver. He's the one that makes it happen. He's the one that brings the Baker and Baldwin communities together like no one else.
You remember the half right part, though, right? While I may have been wrong about the Bash working, I wasn't wrong about Weaver. He is crazy. Anyone that pokes fun of lawyers in print can only be described that way. But, it reminds me of an old Billy Joel lyric, though: "You may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for."
Thank goodness Baker and Baldwin found that lunatic.