Monday, June 22, 2009

Relay For Life 2009: Should Have Known

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Okay, so not necessarily the WORST. There have been far worse things that have taken place in Relays past, but things were off to such a great start.

Before I tell you about this year, I may need to share a little history. 2005 I decided to start volunteering with our local Relay For Life which is the premier fundraising event for the American Cancer Society (click on the link to learn more about Relay For Life). I had found myself in a bubble and was looking for a way to get to know people in my community outside that bubble and since my mom is a cancer survivor, it seemed like a good opportunity. I served for 3 years as their Logistics Chair and then fell into the roll of Event Chair for the 2008 and 2009 Relays…a position that was a great learning experience, but a lot of work. Enough for the history, but I do encourage anyone who has been touched by cancer in some way to check into getting involved with your local Relay For Life by either forming a team or making a donation.

So now the moment I KNOW you have been sitting on the edge of your seat for (haha)

We were off to a great start on Friday. Yes it was hot, but things were going pretty smoothly. Considering the amount of help we had, we got set up by a decent hour. Normally, the two hours before the event takes place, I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to put out “fires”. But this year I had time to sit down before the Opening Ceremony. I wasn’t stressed. The campus police weren’t trying to kick us off campus. Everyone that was supposed to be there was there. I actually got to EAT before 9 p.m. Everyone was having fun. It was a good evening. And then the phone rang.

This was my 5th Relay. Before I joined the committee they never had to move it indoors because of weather. My first year, we had to find a back up location at the last minute. Since then it has rained every other year. This was supposed to be a “rain” year, but as of Friday morning, the forecast only had a 20% chance of rain. In Oklahoma, 20% chance means you’re not getting rain. Ha! Around 9 p.m., I started getting phone calls saying that we had weather moving our way. And in the age of iPhones, everyone is a meteorologist and had their own opinion on how bad the weather was going to be. At 9:30 p.m., I finally gave in and called my friend at one of the local news stations and asked him what his weathermen thought. They said the weather we had coming our way was not going to be severe, but we were going to get wet so we decided to move our Luminaria Ceremony up by 15 minutes so we could try to beat the rain.

The Luminaria Ceremony was beautiful and going smoothly. They were half way through their silent lap when my phone started ringing. Seems that a section of sprinklers had not been turned off as requested and was spraying water onto some of the luminaria. I go to find the campus employee who was helping me with the lights to see if he knew how to turn off the sprinklers…which he didn’t, but was calling someone who did…when the phone rang again. The sprinklers were now on throughout the entire park area.

Yes, sprinklers were going off INSIDE many of the tents, and if they weren’t going off inside the tent, then they were spraying into the tent. As everyone is rushing around trying to cover up sprinkler heads, the rain starts falling. Water was coming from both the ground and the sky. Our perfect evening had a damper put on it…literally. When my friend called after the 10 p.m. news to see how things were going, I started laughing and said “I’m wet.”

We had few teams leave, but most stayed. Our DJ almost bailed out on us, but he ended up coming out after all (which we were VERY thankful for…it would have been a long evening without him).

I would like to say that was it for the evening, but about 1 a.m., I got really sick and kept getting sick throughout the rest of the evening. I think I just got dehydrated, but I spent the last half of the evening laying on a couch in the accounting room…that was NOT fun.

But hey, it wouldn’t be Relay if something didn’t go wrong. At least this year I wasn’t running around trying to find a missing gator (check out the “not so funny highlights” from this post.)

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