Editorial: A big thank you to the community

By on August 21, 2014
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Photo: Mike Schramer tried something new with his Bobcat this year. He helped build berms around each court to contain the water that Chief Kelly Callaghan (below, right) provided. Without the continued support of the community and these volunteers, programs and events like the mud volleyball tournament wouldn’t be possible. We thank them for all they do. Photos by Ben Draper

Another Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament is behind us, and by all accounts, it was our best one yet. We had around 350 players on 48 teams, spanning six courts, playing upwards of six hours.
Thanks to our players, the Elburn Herald raised enough money to fully support two scholarships for Kaneland students.

While we are grateful that so many came out to play volleyball while digging, bumping and diving in the mud, we are even more grateful to the numerous members of our community who helped make it all happen.

Our biggest thanks goes to the Elburn Lions Club, who lets us come in and dirty the place up on the Sunday of Elburn Days every year. The tournament would have no home if it wasn’t for the Lions, so we owe a huge thank you to everyone on the club.

The ground would be in horrible, unplayable shape if it wasn’t for the effort of Dale Pierson and his son Trent of Kaneville. As soon as the truck and tractor pull ends on the Saturday of Elburn Days, they bring out their disc and tractor to help set the stage for all of the work that follows.

New this year were individually-graded courts. Thanks to Mike Schramer in his bobcat tractor and Kyle Hall with his grade laser, each of the six courts was individually leveled, surrounded by berms. This helped each court retain more of its water, which of course translates into more mud and more fun.

Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.

Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.

Of course, those newly designed courts would only look nice and remain dry if not for the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. Thank you for all of that water, which transforms those courts into a muddy playland for all of us who can’t resist letting our inner child out to play in the mud with about 350 of our closest friends.

The tournament wouldn’t happen at all if not for the organization and significant efforts of our own Leslie Flint. She has spent countless hours over the years transforming the tournament from a “what if” idea into a reality, then turning that reality into the event it has become. This year was the best yet, and we owe her a thanks for everything she does. She’s always the first one to begin working on the tournament (months in advance), and the last one to finish the clean-up of all the equipment after everyone else has gone home.

In addition to the above, there are a number of people who helped in a wide variety of ways, from making the shirts (thank you, Steve Gliddon at GTP Activewear), to supplying the music all day long (thank you, Tim Sivesind at Prism Light DJs), to helping set up the courts and nets (thank you, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Charlie Snow), to helping things move forward on the day of the tournament itself (thank you, Natalie Malczyk, Carly Malczyk, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Keith Beebe). And, there were a number of players themselves who helped keep the courts mud-filled as the day wore on; especially Corey Shaw and Dan Ralston, who took time out in between games to do some on-site digging by hand.

Like all successful community events, it requires a large number of people to come together and do their part to make things happen. To each and every one of you who helped, who played, or who just came and watched, thank you for making the 2014 Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament its best yet. We can’t wait to make the 2015 version even better.