Times are tough. There will be cuts and cutbacks, but I have a lot to be thankful for this season and a lot to reflect upon that is good.
I am thankful for the support that the community of Ramona gives to its high school and its high school student athletes in particular.
This wonderful community supports Ramona athletes and athletics in several ways. I am still overwhelmed by the way the crowd supported the Ramona Bulldog football team all season and particularly at the Oceanside game.
Former head coach and athletic director, Mike Cunningham, said it all. “That is the most exciting high school game that I have ever been to. The come-from-behind effort and the support of the crowd was amazing.”
Cunningham has also coached in The Holy Bowl, the game between Saint and University of San Diego High School (now Cathedral Catholic), and he has coached a CIF championship team at Julian, so he has played in and coached in some big games.
This community gives above and beyond when it comes to financial support. Transportation funding is gone, yet the community of Ramona still finds ways to transport its athletes to away games, matches and meets. Some donate to a transportation fund for buses. Some actually drive student athletes to away contests. Either way, it costs money and takes time, and money is scarce nowadays.
Our teams are well-dressed. The school takes care of the necessities when it comes to uniforms, but those sharp warmups, practice uniforms, game day shirts and T-shirts are the products of community support.
The extra equipment like pitching machines, sleds, batting cages, etc. are the product of a generous community.
I am thankful that the community of Ramona gives more than money. Time, labor and expertise are often donated to our athletic teams.
Volunteers have recently regraded the baseball field. Most of our athletic facilities have been improved upon by local volunteers. In my tenure here, I have seen volunteers build fields, put up fences, grade fields, build dugouts, put up baskets, drag the track, paint just about everything that doesn’t move, build concession stands, build a press box, repair tennis courts, build several weight rooms, build batting cages — the list goes on.
Time is freely donated. Scorekeepers, time keepers, announcers, photographers, football chain crews, Web site designers, accountants, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, nurses, doctors, computer experts, carpet layers and people with very special skills have donated thousands of hours to the athletic program.
Parents have cooked, donated, served and purchased team meals and snacks for athletes going to and from away games. Several times supporters have purchased water for football teams playing in the desert. Those drinks saved lives. Supporters have always made sure that Ramona’s athletes are well hydrated at athletic contests.
Merchants and businesspeople have donated material, building material, heavy equipment. You name the supplies and Ramona has donated them.
Anonymous donors have bought shoes, gloves, hats, uniforms, paid fees and sponsored athletes who could not afford to play sports at RHS without some help. I have known several benefactors who have sent checks to coaches and said, “There has got to be a player that needs something. Make him work for it, but make sure he stays on the team.”
Many who have received help have gone on to be successful and have given back in return.
Times are tough, but I am thankful that I live in Ramona during these tough times. It is a great place to work and play.
Thank you, Ramona, and may God bless you and yours.