Acme Sportsman's DInner raises $27,000


Calgary Stampeder Joffrey Reynolds poses with Jersey buyer Merv Rieger

Acme and Linden residents and businesses, and school alumni still have plenty of support for their sports programs, putting their time and money into action at the Alumni Sportsman's Dinner & Silent Auction, held Thursday evening, June 3, 2010. For the first time, it was a sell-out crowd a month in advance of the event.
The 350 people in attendance, the guest speakers, and the organizers of the event can be very proud that their efforts raised about $27,000 for transportation costs. This is the 4th Sportsman's Dinner, and support for the event and funds raised continue to defy expectation with each dinner. The first dinner was held in 2004, with follow-ups in 2006 and 2008 with each event raising over $20,000.
This year's Organizing Committee Chairman was Connie Rieger and she is continually shocked by what this event reveals about the two communities. "I am very proud of everyone's efforts, including that of the alumni athletes. They keep coming back and their support is nothing short of amazing. I am very proud of them and what they say about our community through their actions. This is a group effort between both Acme School and Dr. Elliott and the communities. The support, as always, is just incredible."
There were 100 items up for bid in the silent auction and another four items that were auctioned off live, including that of a signed Stampeder's Jersey. Joffrey Reynolds is a professional Canadian football running back, currently playing for Calgary. The Stampeder chose to come in person to help auction it off and together with Jon Radcliffe, auctioneer extra-ordinaire, the item sold for $1900. Merv Rieger was 'giddy as a school boy' to have his picture taken with the jersey and Mr. Reynolds.
A new idea for this year, was to invite a couple of alumni to be part of the guest speaker line-up. It was well received and it will likely be repeated at future dinners. This year the alumni speakers graduated 20 years apart, Craig Rieger from 2000 and Terry Meek from 1980. Terry was Kevin Martin's 5th curling player (alternate) for the 2009 Brier but Terry is just as comfortable being known and referred to as the husband of Cheryl Bernard, skip of Team Canada Curling and Silver medalist at the 2010 Olympics. Terry and Cheryl shared the mic, trading it back and forth as they each recalled their own Olympic experience. Cheryl spoke of her desire to mentally return to the curling game that she had always loved and shed the stress and business motives that curling professionally can induce. "I still did all the practicing and competition required but I also felt myself relaxing and extracting the enjoyment from the game, once again. Terry and our supporters were up in the stands surprising us with gags, and funny props, keeping us laughing and relaxed. Yes, that gold medal was very close, within my grasp in the 10th or 11th end but I have made my peace with both myself, my team and my coach. Another goal was achieved in that I once again saw curling as a sport and game; not a job. We didn't lose gold; we won silver and my team and I are very proud and hopefully so is my country." The audience showed their approval.
Jungle Jim Hunter had a very lively and well received motivational speech. Throughout the speech, in batches of flashbacks he used to drive home a point, he spoke of and showed pictures of his pre-teen years down on the farm in Saskatchewan as he prepared himself for the trials of alpine skiing. In a way no one could ever have imagined he pioneered his personal training system, doing one-arm pushups as he steered the tractor, curled himself into the tractor's wheel well as it was driven around to simulate rolling and tumbling, and probably the most famous use of 'kids don't try this at home' - was truck skiing. To simulate the power of the wind, he would ride on the top of his father's truck, on skis, as the truck reached speeds of up to 60 mph. The generation gap between what he did and the preparation of youths in today's world is a gulf that is miles wide, but it was also entertaining as all get out. The fact that he succeeded in becoming the 1972 Olympic Bronze Medal Winner, and earning the extra distinction of being the first Canadian male to win a medal in alpine skiing at an olympic event was and still is an extraordinary journey. At age 10 he was in a coma, at age 11 he started skiing, and at age 12 to advance his skiing, he moved to Calgary where the terrain was better suited to his goals. At age 16 he was racing in Europe at the World Cup. He finds inspiration in Sir Edmund Hillary's successful climb to the top of Mount Everest (the very day before Jim was born), claiming that Hillary thought himself a failure because he was forced to leave the bodies of two of his best friends, frozen up on that mountain. Jim also gave high importance to the placement of statues at the Olympic Coliseum and what the games meant to the people back then. "When you march through the arch of the stadium to participate, the only statues are the ones who bare the name and date of athletes who were caught cheating. It is only when you come out the other side of the arch, after competing, that you get to see the statues of the honored ones." Although many students and athletes of today would never be able to relate to the stamina and perseverance-against-all-odds of this very original crazy Canuck, they can still appreciate the message behind his motivational one-liners: "The greater the resistance; the higher the kite flies", and what coaches should be on the look out for, "That someone whose inspiration will blossom every time they fail."
It is possible that with the tragedy a few years back, that befell Acme and Linden with the loss of life of dedicated and talented athletes and human beings, that the resistance was great, but look how that kite flies now.