Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bidding You Best Wishes at the Auction, (or, Need a Duck Dynasty Cafeteria Tray?)

From today's TIMES and NEWS-STAR

You know those auctions you go to now and then as part of a fundraiser? Ever wonder how all that stuff gets there?

It’s harder than it looks. I’ve gathered stuff to be auctioned off, and there’s always a catch, somehow and some way. A nice print of a famous athlete or actor isn’t that hard to present; but getting it autographed, for instance, is a bit of a different story.

But from my experience, these things almost always end up being worth it. Those who donate items often go beyond what is necessary and bidders have a shot at something they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to acquire, not at any reasonable price or without a whole lot of trouble.

And the organization makes money! Everybody’s happy. The classic win-win and win again. 

So tip of the hat to all the Item Gatherers, whether the fundraiser be for your school, church or non-profit organization. You are cut from the same cloth as the people who rake the Little League fields, bake the recreation hall cookies and host the Cub Scout meetings.

What has grown to become perhaps the area’s largest silent auction fundraiser is Thursday night (March 5) at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport. It’s the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Dinner/Auction, and without a doubt the haul up for bids is the most impressive in the event’s history.

(If you wish to go, just bring ten dollars to get in and then show up. No reservation necessary. If your body is there, your wallet and your willing-to-help attitude, you will not in any way leave hungry or bored.)

As a teaser, only three or four of the following items will be available for your bidding pleasure at Thursday’s night’s big FCA Bash. (You have to guess):

A)  The jawbone of an ass
B)   A copy of Joshua, unabridged, signed by the author
C)   A Moses beard brush
D)  An Emmitt Smith authentic Dallas Cowboys helmet
E)   A Dead Sea Scroll
F)    Sunday dinner for a year
G)  A Dead Sea fish, alive
H)  Selected Psalms, sung by the original authors (available on 8-track only)
I)     Northwestern State “Basketball Experience” for Two and Louisiana Tech “Football Experience” for Two
J)     Fishes and Loaves basket (Feeds 5,000)
K)  A Philistine
L)    A fatted calf
M)                       LSU Football Tiger Stadium End Zone Suite to a 2015 game
N)  Selected unleavened breads

Our old friend Terry Slack, Northwest Louisiana and State Director for FCA, has been at his job a while and learned long ago to start gathering stuff for the next year as soon as this year’s auction was set. It’s sort of a perpetual trudging up Mt. Saini, to use an old-school term. But because of it, the organization gets the support it needs for year-round visits to schools to form and feed FCA chapters and host camps.

The toughest item for him to get this year was the signed helmets, cards and photos by former LSU and NFL star Y.A. Tittle. The still-popular native East Texas is in declining health and in California now, but the diligent T. Slack mailed all sorts of things westward, made calls to several secretaries, and a month later, it all came back, autographed – including one of the most recognizable athletic photographs ever: Tittle, helmetless and bloodied, on his knees on the turf in Yankee Stadium.

Slack went through Dallas connections to get a print of Odell Beckham Jr.’s “Greatest Catch Ever,” and Kelly Wells with the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission put together an Adventure Adrenaline Package, the trifecta of a sky dive, fly board ride and dragster ride.

There’s even a North Caddo High cafeteria tray signed by Phil, Kay and Si Robertson. Imagine how you could impress your friends by serving a roasted duck on it.

“The trips and experiences were hard to put together,” Slack said, “but we are blessed by knowing Mike and Tommy,” referring to NSU hoops coach Mike McConathy and Louisiana Tech director of athletics Tommy McClelland. Mike was a star at Tech and Tommy played at NSU; now the foot is on the other shoe. But although a guy can switch schools professionally, everyone is on the same team when it comes to FCA.