Why aren’t we going to bat for the State Softball Tournament?
On Wednesday, October 13th, Hastings welcomed 32 teams and countless fans and families from across the state as we hosted the High School State Softball Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Masked Blogger (TMB) greeted the Hastings Tribune with much anticipation on Wednesday because TMB is so proud of this community, everything it does and everything it offers. What a great day to stick out our chest a little farther and a little prouder. TMB started to read the article about the tournament on the front page and turned with eagerness to the rest of the article, only to be startled by the continuing headline, “Hastings officials uncertain about the future state softball bid.” What? Must read on to find out what would lead “Hastings Officials” to make such a determination. Was it this darned economy that everyone likes to blame things on? Obviously our amazing softball complex must be double booked with national tournaments and other great events that we are able to look such a gift horse in the mouth. TMB was compelled to read on to determine what our dilemma was.
Our mayor was quoted: “We are honored to be the host city for the 2010 NSAA State Softball Championship.” Hmm, no hint there. Then a statement from the Executive Director of our Convention and Visitors Bureau: “It’s a win-win for our community. Getting all those people here and the recognition we get for it statewide…..I believe it’s something we will bid again.” But wait a minute…that is not what the sub-head said above. What is going on?
And then…there it was. Apparently when we talk about “Hastings Officials”, we are talking about Greg Holiday, activities director for Hastings High School. Mr. Holiday went on to say many things but the one that caught the TMB’s attention the most: “It just seems to be getting tougher every year to get volunteers…That’s something that is kind of a determining factor in whether we can do this. If we can’t get volunteers, we won’t rebid.”
There are two main issues here. The first is the most disturbing. The fact that we have over 24,000 people in our community who ALL directly or indirectly benefit from us hosting this tournament, and we cannot get a few dozen to spend a couple hours helping make it happen is ridiculous. Are people too naive to see the value that events like this bring to our community? Or are we just too selfish to care because we see no direct value in it for ourselves? The people who give of themselves through their time, talent and treasures are what make Hastings such a wonderful community. We need to figure out, and real quick, how to change people’s perception as to what their role in the community is. If we want to host festivals, rodeos, races, tournaments and other great events, everyone in this community needs to understand how important they are.
The second issue is with Mr. Holiday. As an apparent representative of “Hastings Officials”, how dare he use the hassle of gathering volunteers in the community as a reason to stop bidding this event? Just as obvious that a tournament like this cannot happen with out the collective work of the entire community, it should be just as important that Mr. Holiday understand that he should use more than his personal hardships to determine its future. Hundreds of people donate their time and money to this community every day by serving on boards and committees and donations to local organizations. Do you think these people enjoy spending their hard earned money or their precious time away from their families and hobbies? What if all these people decided to stop supporting their community because it was a little inconvenient? This community is built on people enduring some hardships because they understand what is in the best interest of the collective whole. I would hope Mr. Holiday or at least his boss or board will remember this when deciding whether or not to re-bid this tournament.
The competitiveness for these types of events across our great state is fierce, and there are many reasons the 2011 Nebraska High School Softball Tournament may not be back, but the fact that Mr. Holiday has to do some “begging and pleading to get people to help” should not be one of them. As a community we should be embarrassed this was an issue to begin with. As a school system, we should be embarrassed it made it into the newspaper—especially during a time when we’re hosting a statewide event.
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