Before my post about the coaching staff, a quick note about today’s charity event that the Sea Dogs front office staff participated in…
The fact that I am writing at the moment means the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge was a success! Let me first tell you how we define success: punctual arrival, no tears, no blood, no injuries, minimal pouting and free stuff at the end. The Sea Dogs team accomplished all of these agenda items at USM’s Gorham campus. An all-star team of Courtney Rague, Brayton Chase, Brian Murphy, Tim Miller and yours truly laced up our bball shoes or the cleanest shoes we could find to swish (or clang!) out some childhood cancer. Our friends at the Maine Credit Union League put on the 3 on 3 tournament with all proceeds going to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. This 3 on 3 event first began in 1994 and to date has raised over $200K for MCCP. That amount is equal parts astonishing and inspiring, and makes me feel bad for grumbling when I woke up this morning. When we arrived for our 8am game (8 AM!), I couldn’t believe how many people were there as players and spectators. In addition to having a sold out number of teams competing in 3 v 3 games, they also had baked goods for sale and numerous silent auction prizes up for bid. If I hadn’t been hanging by the baked goods table when we weren’t playing, I could tell you more about what kind of silent auction items they had but sorry, I only can tell you that they had excellent brownies.
So, the first game was at 8am. (8 AM!) The rules were pretty simple, other than the other regular basketball rules (no whining, this is out of bounds, call your own fouls, etc.) they also required at least one girl be on the court at all times. Thank goodness Courtney was there. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Courtney was our five tool player of the tournament. (Passing, Shooting, Dribbling, Defense, Personality) Tim and Brayton will be annoyed by this but it’s true. She could pass, she could shoot, she wasn’t afraid to go to the basket and she was a pest on defense. I think she might have even been the leading scorer. Anyways, it didn’t matter. Being the leading scorer on our team today was like being the best swimmer in a shark tank. Our first contest was a close game, until it wasn’t, and then we lost. It was, however, a valiant effort, and one I was proud to be a part of. We played with class and style. We were just out matched by a few things, namely height. This team was tall! You can’t teach that. Tallest player on our team might have been 5’11”, and if he told you that he was probably lying. Once we lost this game we waited about an hour where we chatted with our adoring fans (my parents, Geoff, Jim and his son). Our second game started earlier than they even told us. After 18 years of running this tournament, they (MCCP, Maine Credit Union League) know how to run a tight ship, which was great. I thought, “we might be home before lunch! which is always a bonus.
The second team we played looked a little familiar, and after staring at them for an uncomfortable amount of time (for them) I realized that two of them were the Cheverus girls from the 3-Points for Strive contest. Just great. We go from facing a team of red woods to a team of 3-point shooters. In spite of their impressive performance at the Expo, we played this team extremely tough. It was an evenly matched contest and one that was efficiently and fairly run by court monitor and former voice of the Sea Dogs, Andy Young. The scoring went back and forth. Well, first, the missing went back and forth. Both teams came out ice cold. I think when I subbed in it was 3-4, and we had been playing for about 10 minutes. (Each game only lasted 15). Soon enough (when I subbed back out) the teams found their rhythm again, and the scoring picked up. I will spare you the play by play, because I’m not very good at that, but I will tell you that I scored from the post and event blocked a shot. The blocked shot happened accidentally. The girl was going up for a lay up and I just closed my eyes, threw my arms up in the air and hoped I didn’t hurt myself or my pride. I was shocked as her shot grazed off my index finger. A lot of other good stuff happened too…more baskets made, rebounds snagged (see…can’t do basketball play by play). The game went into overtime, and then double over time! The drama! And then the Cheverus shooting killed us. Giving Courtney a much needed respite I subbed back in and the opposing Cheverus girl scored two baskets in a row, right in my face, and we lost. It was a fun match up though. We played a competitive game against a really nice team and helped out our favorite cause. The sting of our loss was subdued by complimentary t-shirts. Brayton put it best when he pointed out that we had significantly improved over last year, which is very true. Next year, look out. We might need our own category! I was just pleased to get out of there with my dignity and ankles in tact.
Honestly, recommend checking out this event next year. Even if you don’t put a team in (or if you do) go and watch. You will see all levels of basketball (we fell in the upper middle if I must say so). But, more importantly you will see a ton of people up pretty early to help out one of the best charities in Maine. Not a bad start to a Sunday.
One thing is for certain, the Red Claws will not be calling on any of the Sea Dogs staffers to shoot their three-pointers.
But, this is what I love about our office; our personal commitment to diving headlong into good causes, whether they are on the weekends or involve skills that we do not necessarily have. Like shooting three pointers! Even though yesterday was not one of our counted 59 (now 58!) work days until Opening Day, (April 12th, 2012…cue the shameless promotion) six Sea Dogs employees and a cheering section of two descended on the Expo to participate in STRIVE’s 3-Point Shoot-Out contest. Chris Cameron is on the board of STRIVE, an organization dedicated to helping teens and young adults with intellectual and emotional disabilities. It is Chris’s position on the board of STRIVE and his tireless support of this organization that created our team. The work STRIVE does is unbelievably valuable to our community, and we were only too happy to be involved. Chris, Geoff Iacuessa, Courtney Rague, Brian Murphy and Tim Miller made up the shooters. I was there strictly for moral support of our team and the cause. Chris’s wife Sarah and our friend Jen made up the rest of cheering section. Before I go on about the contest itself, I just wanted to congratulate Sarah, Jen and myself for our excellent job cheering. As relentless supporters of all teams involved, our hands were red and swollen as a result of our continuous clapping and our voices hoarse from our vocal support. It is a price we were happy to pay.
Back to the contest. For $25.00, you could enter a team of five to shoot three pointers on the beautiful parquet floor of the Expo. I honestly can’t tell you if additional money was donated for each basket made. As a dedicated member of the spirit squad, these details were not on my radar. I was just there to clap and heckle Norm Karkos, who did an excellent job emceeing the event.
I am proud to report that although our team had joked all week about how bad they would do, we did not get shut out. Courtney Rague (Pride of Old Orchard Beach) and Tim Miller (Pride of Deering High) carried the Sea Dogs team, each sinking one basket a piece. Geoff, Chris and Brian however, all went home empty handed. Geoff was quick to point out with pride that although he missed all of his shots, he did “hit the rim every time”. Each shooter received five shots, so for you statisticians out there, we were 2 for 25 from the field. Tim did make the “money ball” shot at the end, which I am told counted as two, so with a little help we were 3 for 25! Although the Sea Dog team was knocked out in the first round–sufficiently shamed by the performance of both Cheverus Girls teams (yes, they put in two!) and the team made up of Red Claws staffers–we went home with our heads held high. Actually we didn’t go home, we went straight to Pizza Villa and did what we do best-eat. Nothing soothes the ego like a pepperoni pizza.
We are already looking forward to next year’s event! As a marketing person, I think it is a golden sponsorship opportunity for a masonry/brick laying company to sponsor the entire event. It is a great cause and a fun concept and I atleast would get a chuckle out of the connection. Think of the opportunities for slogans! So a big thank you to the Red Claws to opening up their house to the event, and a big thank you to STRIVE for continuing to do the work that they do.
Next post will be about our returning coaching staff and how lucky we are to have them. They say flattery will get you everywhere, and I am hoping they are right.
Maybe it’s the cold, or maybe it’s the realization that we have just 59 work days left until Opening Day, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon. Either way, Chris Cameron and I decided that I should have a blog, detailing our promotions and events that happen at Hadlock Field throughout the year. (Geoff, if you’re upset about this, it was all Chris’s idea. Geoff, if you think this is a great idea, I want you to know that I and I alone have worked extremely hard on this).
Before we get any further, I should tell you that my name is Liz, and I am the Director of Sales, Marketing & Promotions for the Portland Sea Dogs located in the beautiful Portland, Maine. I cannot describe how beautiful Portland actually is, or Maine in general for that matter. Sometimes I worry that I am biased, because I have lived in the state my entire life, so of course I find it amazing. But seriously, this city and state are both amazing places to live, work and enjoy. Portland has great food, nice people, a fun downtown, the ocean and of course, the best Minor League Baseball franchise around. I always tell people, if I didn’t work here, I would come to the games all of the time, and I don’t even like baseball. There I said it. I am not a baseball fan. I mean no malice in that, I just would not sit down and watch every play of a baseball game and be intrigued. I don’t attend many sporting events for the event on the field–I go for the food, the drinks and the atmosphere. I am a huge fan of atmosphere, entertainment and diversion. Part of my job is creating an atmosphere where even people like myself can enjoy a night out with friends, family, or even solo.
So, unlike my good friend Mike Antonellis’s blog (THE voice of the Sea Dogs) I will not cover the various plays, players and highlights of games. You baseball junkies might get a few tid bits here and there. A former college athlete (very former), I am begrudgingly fluent in baseball and most sporting lingo. I even have my own Fantasy Football team! However, instead of the sports aspect, I will cover our promotional events for our 71 home games and also the events that take place in the office season. Off season events include Hot Stove Dinner, Mother’s Day 5K, Father’s Dy 5K, Welcome Back Dinner and new for 2011, (and my personal favorite) Holiday at Hadlock. I cannot wait to write about Holiday at Hadlock because I get to do all of the decorating for that. I will be sure to have some great stories for you from my adventures there.
So check into Mike’s blog throughout the season for all of the updates and happening at our games. He is far more knowledgable of the plays and players that make their living between the foul lines. If you want to know about our promotions, our events and the inside scoop in their planning or are just curious about the every day workings of a front office (we eat a lot of cake) then please, follow this and feel free to comment and ask questions.
The 59th work day is drawing to close. We are all anxiously waiting for April 12th and hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates later next week!