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There are better ways to raise money

I have always been one that was up for a good cause. Especially if that meant there was some fun to be had.

Rarely will I turn down the chance to play in a golf tournament that has a tie in to a charity. And throughout my sports writing career, I have been fortunate enough to get to do some pretty cool stuff, all in the name of a cause.

I once had the chance to play in a charity baseball game against the Colorado Silver Bullets, an all-female baseball team coached by Phil Neikro that could really play at a high level.

One time, I had the opportunity to take an at-bat against former Cleveland Indians and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller to raise money for diabetes. I laced a clean single into right field, one of my proudest moments ever, even if he was 72 years old at the time.

But my favorite charitable endeavor came at a driving range in Austin, Texas, where I took part in a hole-in-one contest. I was hitting golf balls to a pin 120 yards away for about four hours with the knowledge that an ace netted $10,000 to a charity of my choosing.

During that time, Lance Armstrong showed up to hit a few balls, as did Lyle Lovett and Ben Crenshaw. I heard that Willie Nelson made an appearance, but never got a whiff of it until I had left. I really didn’t come close to scoring an ace, but money was donated for every ball I hit.

I like good causes, so it’s kind of hard to say this, but I have already had enough of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

For those that don’t know about this challenge, and if you don’t, please clue me in on how you have managed to stay away from it, people dare their friends to be filmed having a bucket of ice water dumped on them while challenging others to do the same. Apparently, once challenged, you have 24 hours to comply, post your video or donate money to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

At this point, though, I am tired of hearing about it, and am especially tired of seeing the endless videos online with anyone and everyone pouring water on their heads.

I’m all for the cause and it’s cool to see so much money (more than $41 million so far) raised for such a destructive disease; how could anyone be against that?

Too many people, it seems, are getting wet just to get wet. I’m assuming many of them are doing the challenge, yet are not donating money to the ALS cause. And that is my problem with the whole thing.

It began to raise money and awareness and now has turned into a parody of itself. I could care less if you were bold enough to get ice water dumped on you.

I have friends that have posted videos on Facebook, and I have to say, in a word, they are lame.

One of my friends has his 3-year-old son saying the lines about taking the challenge, then, once doused by cold water, balls like the little kid he is. All the while not knowing why mommy or daddy would do that to him.

But there are some videos that have been entertaining, like the one that Geddy Lee of Rush posted on his website. In it, a bobblehead of Lee, with a strangely familiar voice narrating the events, accepts the challenge and then has a thimble of water dumped on his head. As the camera pulls back to reveal the real Lee doing the dumping, a bucket of water comes down on him.

It’s funny and clever.

But too many of these videos are neither.

So rather than join in and be part of the mainstream crowd, why not do something a little different and help out a local cause. If you need any ideas, I have someone you could talk to — Alexis Urbach.

The Madras senior came up with a way to help out a local family and others should take note. And it has nothing to do with buckets of water.

With Cameron Hatch’s family facing more and more medical expenses due to his treatment for cancer, Alexis, being a volleyball player, organized a 4-on-4 grass tournament to help raise money.

So eight teams gathered out on the Madras soccer fields last Saturday for a little fun and helped out a local cause. Some were volleyball veterans, while some were not.

The members of the Culver volleyball team showed up to donate money and root on coaches Randi and Nick Viggiano.

Madras coach Rhea Caldwell helped organize and put on the event, while some of her players were also part of the festivities.

There were food and prizes, donated by other locals, and fun. And everyone got plenty of sun.

And at the end, Alexis’ little idea netted more than $530 for a local family that can really use every dollar.

So join me in giving Alexis a standing ovation for doing something really nice for her community. In doing what she did, she showed us she is much more mature than her age and this community could use more people like her.

Charitable contributions, in any form, are needed and welcomed. They don’t have to be in the form of a challenge or require a bucket of water to make it real.



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