Riverdawgs Give Tri-City Area Youth Opportunities for National Competition
Travel Tournament Teams See Bright Lights, Big Time With Community Help
December 16, 2007
Last Weeks program - December 11
By: Dave Rogers
THE HOME RUN INVOCATION
Rev. Jeffrey Weenink hit a home run
with his creative invocation at the Dec. 11 meeting, relating the program on baseball to the concepts of worship and also of Rotary. Here is the text of his invocation:
"Today, as we are attentive to these boys of summer we are reminded that Mighty God -- in the Big Inning
you created heaven and earth. Down through the ages you have been the author and perfecter of all our field of dreams
. When we strike out
-- you give us another turn at bat
. When things go foul
you are there for us. Help us when we step up to the plate
and enable us to tag the bases
embrace the truth,
find fairness for all concerned,
build goodwill and better friendships,
do what is beneficial for others,
Until the day that we stride home
-- always seeking service above self. Amen.
Mark Krysiak and Al Provow, officials and coaches of the Riverdawgs travel tournament baseball program for the Saginaw Bay area were speakers at the Rotary Club of Bay City on Dec. 11.
Mr. Krysiak, global culture teacher at Bay City Central High, said the program recalls the old days when the passion and love of the game ruled the community.
He conjured up images of Tiger Stadium with the smell of steam cooked hot dogs and the cry of "play ball" recollected a fresher, cleaner view than the steroid tinged recent past.
"Remember Ernie Harwell, Al Kaline -- we want to bring back the love and passion for the game to these kids," he exclaimed.
He described the time the youngsters first played in Las Vegas: "It was an exciting time and they did a phenomenal job!"
In 2007 the organization established a board to oversee the project, elected officers, outlined a tournament schedule and organized three teams for the season, Mr. Krysiak explained. He is board vice president and head coach of the 14-and-under team; Mr. Prowow, athletic director of the Auburn Area Catholic School, is board president and head coach of the 12-and-under team.
The 12 and under team went 22-10-1 and was runner-up in a tourney in Muncie, Indiana against some of the best competition in the Midwest. The 14 and under team went 12-9-2 and finished in the top 25 percent in the Desert Fall Classic in Las Vegas. The 16 and under team won a tournament in Detroit and finished 2-2 in Las Vegas.
One outcome of the success of these Bay area teams was that the phone started ringing from professional scouts, said Coach Krysiak.
Goals for 2008 include recruiting 100 players and fielding six or seven teams to pay six to eight tournaments, he said.
The Riverdawg tournament program is financed by donations in the following categories: the Cycle: $500 and up; Grand Slam, $200-499; Home Run, $300; Triple, $150; Double, $100; Single, $50; Sacrifice, $49 or less. Hundreds of individuals, companies and organizations contributed last year.
Four of players, representing each of the teams, said a few words about their experiences and the things they liked best. After the meeting they also autographed team posters for anyone interested. the players, shown left, were, from left, Grant Miller, Western Middle School; Connor O'Brien, Saginaw Heritage; Zach Fylling, Christa McAuliffe Middle School; and Sam Brooks, Christa McAuliffe.
In 2008 each player's family will pay $450 for the season while the donations make up the difference. For instance, it costs about $800 for each player for a 10-day tourney in Cooperstown, New York.
"We need community support and we will be having fundraisers," said Mr. Prowow.
For the last few years Jim McCue
has been in charge of taking attendance. His work has made the club secretary's job much much easier. Thanks Jim! Starting in January, Kim Prime has agreed to take on that job.
is hardly over and the committee is planning for next year's event. October 16 has been reserved for the event.
Lee and Molly Newton
, both accomplished musicians, are planning to give a concert at John Glen High School on May 10. The Garber bands will also perform. Proceeds will be split between Rotary and the Garber Band. Everyone should reserve the date!
will host Rebeca Blumenstein, Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal's Beijing office, which won a Pulitzer recently. Rebeca is an Essexville native and is visiting the area for the holidays. If you'd like to attend, the meeting is at noon on December 27 at the 3rd Street Deli in Pinconning. Please let Mike Stoner know if plan to attend.
(See the official schedule at
December 18 Holiday Program
December 25 NO MEETING
January 1 NO MEETING
Anyone who would like a new name badge to reflect a classification change should contact Steve Kent.
Vocational Days are scheduled for March 4 and March 18. Please sign up to sponsor students by January 8. Sign up with Ralph Knop or Griff Acker as soon as possible. Forms are available on the club web site in the members section.
The club will host a dinner honoring the Women of Rotary at the Doubletree on March 6. Plan to attend.
The Family of Rotary is seen in many ways. At this meeting Ron McGillivray shared the table with President Rob Clark, his wife Claire and son Owen. At age 95, Ron is the longest serving member of the club, having joined in 1945. This table well illustrated the generations represented in our club, including we imagine, the next one