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Hopefully A Little Effort Can Go A Long Ways

I have been inspired a lot recently.

CHRISTA BRELSFORD

Christa Brelsford

It started a few weeks back, when Mrs. Warwas and I were watching the news coverage of the terrible earthquake in Haiti.  The two of us were in Belize in May for our honeymoon when a 7-something earthquake struck in the middle of the night.  We get a lot of earthquakes in Alaska, but neither of us had ever experienced something quite of this magnitude.  It shook for about a minute and a half, knocking things around, and we were as scared as either of us had ever been.

The fear grew after the quake ended, when we were evacuated to the tallest building available because reports of tsunami warnings started raising worries.  We were incredibly worried about the citizens in the nearby village that had little protection as their homes are not what us Americans would deem as “stable.”

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Luckily, little real damage ended up occurring and to this day I haven’t heard of any fatalities.

So, watching the Haiti quake unfold in front of us was quite striking and both of us went into “what could’ve been” mode, discussing how we would have reacted if the quake we had experienced had caused such devastation as what was seen in Haiti.

Then came a story on our local news about Christa Brelsford.  The young Alaskan woman was volunteering in Haiti when the quake hit, and she was severely injured.  Both Mrs. Warwas and I were in awe of her positive attitude, concern for others, and gratitude for being alive only hours after having her right foot amputated.  Her attitude towards the whole thing was almost unfathomable to me, as I know that most of us (myself included) would be so caught up in our own tragedy to have any other concern.

She was, in my eyes, a true warrior and saint.

FRAN THE MAN

One of our regular readers, who goes by Fran The Man, recently wrote a very heartfelt comment on one of my posts.

In the post, he discussed his feelings following the Vikings NFC Championship disaster.

“I really am wondering why a seemingly intelligent person would get so obsessed with a stupid game and team,” wrote Fran.

Now, some might say this is simply sour grapes because of the Vikings recent loss, but I personally think Fran is putting a feeling most of us fans have on paper.  That feeling is the wondering how “important” football really is.

Take me for example.  I spend hours every week scouring for Vikings information, writing my opinions on the Vikings, speculating about the Vikings and so on and so on.

And for what?

It isn’t for money, I can tell you that much for sure.  Those are hours I will never get back.  Those are hours I could be spending with Mrs. Warwas, my dogs, my friends, or perhaps doing something more worthy of time like picking up litter or volunteering at the local animal shelter.

So, while I think football is important (I’ll get to that later) I would like to thank Fran for bringing us back down to Earth.

The Vikings loss was not the end of the world.  The rich people who own, organize, and play for this franchise don’t know us and don’t know how much we care about them.

So, thank you Fran for reminding us that there are more important things out there.

STATE OF THE UNION

I’m not saying this as a political stance, but I watched Obama’s State of the Union Address on Wednesday and have to say that I came away inspired.

While he has his short comings, he is a great orator and I think it takes a lot of courage to basically stand in front of the whole Nation and beg for unity.  He begged for help in making this country a better place.  It wasn’t exactly on the level of “Ask not what your country can do for you…” but I came away wanting to be a part of the fight to make this world better.

And it wasn’t just Obama.  It was John McCain speaking shortly after.  It was all the people on my TV talking about unity and wanting to help.

To me, that is just cool, no matter which side of the aisle you are on.  Again, I was inspired.

UNINSPIRING ASPECTS

Not everything is roses and unicorns, as we all know.

Take a look at the NFL.  You have guys making ungodly amounts of money, spending it on shameless excess, and flaunting it around for the rest to see.  You have billionaires trying to leverage a beaten down taxpayer into giving up just a little more so that the game can be played in a modern-day temple of luxury and waste.  You have defensive coordinators (Gregg Williams) intently and openly telling his players to put the health and careers of opposing quarterbacks at risk as often as possible.  You have fans constantly crying for coaches, who are men with families, to be fired and forced to relocate their families to a new town.  You have hundreds of YouTube videos showing drunken people fighting each other over the outcomes of these games we love so dearly.  There are fans willing to put pictures of “Hurricane Favre” about to hit New Orleans on the internet for all to see.  There are fans that were bold enough to say in anonymity that the Vikings crumbled worse than the 35W Bridge.

There are many of dark and unappealing aspects of the NFL.

PLAYING BALL IS IMPORTANT

Despite all the negatives listed above (and the ones I missed) I still stand by that football, and other sports, is an important part of our lives.

First, look at New Orleans.  Anyone who thinks a professional sports team cannot bring people together has not been watching football for a while.  The Saints have truly become a beacon of strength within a city that only a few years ago was essentially uninhabitable.  It really, truly is a great story… despite them having to run over the Vikings on their way to the Super Bowl.

Second, physical activity is becoming a rarity in today’s world.  Instead of “go play outside” mothers are now saying “go do your Wi Fit.”  Obesity and general health is becoming such a problem in our country that the First Lady has decided to move it to the top of her list of efforts.  Football is a physical activity that revolves around treating your body well.

Third, football provides an escape from the harsh realities of life.  These breaks are very important to mental health.  It is human nature to need to take your mind off of things.  Jigsaw puzzles in the Great Depression, baseball in World War II, music during Vietnam, and so on and so on.  Football is a form of entertainment that makes many Americans happy in times where it might be difficult to be happy.

Fourth, the NFL and the people in it really do a lot of good in the world.  These stories are often overlooked or dismissed, but community outreach continues to be a priority within the league.  Their efforts are growing and really do a lot of good.

Fifth, for players and coaches, football is great training for life.  It is the ultimate team sport that is a perfect training ground when it comes to leadership, teamwork, modesty, strength, sportsmanship, and many other great attributes.

In a time when our society is becoming increasingly dedicated to “job skills” as the standard for educating our youth, it would be a shame if sports and the arts go by the wayside because funding disappears.

DONORS CHOICE

A few years back, Stephen Colbert (who recently declared himself the new quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings) did a feature on the website DonorsChoice.org which struck me as a fantastic idea.

The basic idea is that teachers in the K-12 range can post a project that they are having trouble getting funding for through traditional avenues.  The project and its costs are broken down in great detail with very specific descriptions.

Then, people looking to be generous can simply log on, pick a project they would like to support and give whatever amount they like.  The gift can be anonymous or otherwise.  The project stays posted until it is fully funded, at which point the benefitting class writes thank you letters and sends pictures to the donors.  Donors can give as little one dollar and receive the same amount of gratitude as those who donate millions.

The program has been growing steadily and to date has funded nearly 15,000 projects, benefiting nearly 3 million students, to the tune of $46 million dollars.

The subject that receives the least amount of funding by far is “Health & Sports.”

MY PROPOSAL

Mrs. Warwas and I love to talk about how much we would donate to whom if we ever won the lottery.  We love to talk about the people we would help and causes we would take up if we were famous.

We are definitely NOT rich or famous.

However, as I was recently looking over the stats that Vikings Gab has generated, I realized that more people read my words than I may think.  In the (almost) year that I’ve been writing here, the site has grown and grown and we now have thousands of different people visiting the site every week.  This was far more than I had thought, given that the people that comment here regularly are fairly few, relatively speaking.

So, as I was looking at this information, I realized that having my little corner of the internet where people for some reason are interested in what I have to say about the Vikings is perhaps as “famous” as I will ever be.

And then I thought of Christa Brelsford, Fran The Man, and the President’s plea for help.

I decided that I should at least try to do some good with this opportunity.

From here on out, I am going to pick Donors Choice projects related to sports, with an emphasis on football, to regularly feature on this site.  I am going to ask the Vikings Gab community to at least consider giving something in an effort to fund sports-related projects in under privileged schools across the Nation.

To be clear, I will do nothing but link to my “featured” projects and ask that people consider funding them.  I will never touch the money, nor will the bosses of the Sports Gab Network (I haven’t even told them I’m doing this), and all the donations will be strictly between the generous folks and Donor’s Choice.  I’ll have very little to do with it other than to highlight worthy projects, and provide updates on the funding success of my featured projects.

Also, I’m not one for guilt trips.  This isn’t me trying to get others to think one way or act a certain way, but rather just me trying to use Vikings Gab as a conduit to help those in need.  If you don’t want to, or cannot afford to participate in this then I am totally understanding of that.

However, I figure if I have the time to write repetitive posts about how overrated Bryant McKinnie is, then I have the time to try and do some good.  If one of our readers clicks the link, gives $1 to a project, then writing that post did more good in this world than any other post I have written so far.  Hopefully I can help these teachers raise more than $1 for their projects, but if not then it didn’t hurt to try.

GIVING IT A TRY

So, that brings me to my first effort in this regard.

Mr. F teaches at a high-poverty school in Kansas.  He is hoping to receive funding for equipment needed to start an intramural flag football team for students in the age range of 3rd to 5th grade.  650 students are expected to benefit from this project if it is fully funded.

Mr. F says, “With this equipment my students and I will be able to participate in a team sport that will encourage being physically active outside of school and also benefit from the social and personal benefits from team sports.”

To purchase a batch of flags and belts, in addition to 11 footballs, the project will be funded fully if $474.89 cab be raised.

The project was first posted on October 9th, 2009 and has yet to receive a single penny in donations (remember, sports are the least funded projects on this site).  The project will be pulled off the site if it is not fully funded by March 15th of this year.

So, let’s do this VG Readers! Let’s help Mr. F fund his flag football program so that these kids can get started!

If you would like to donate to the cause, then please click here to learn how you can help.

You won’t regret it!


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29 Responses to “Hopefully A Little Effort Can Go A Long Ways”

  1. TheJazzyOne says:

    I’ll be posting a link to this for sure

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Thanks for the link, Jazzy! The post is great!

      For those of you who haven’t been, The Vikings Ship is a great site and you can get there by clicking the link in the blogroll on the right side of this screen.

  2. […] Hopefully A Little Effort Can Go A Long Ways Take the time and read the post. […]

  3. jeege says:

    A wonderful post. Wonderful.

  4. Bismuth says:

    I think this is a great idea, and a great way to help set VikingsGab apart! There’s a great community here, small enough to make everyone feel welcomed, but large enough to make a difference to projects like this.

    I donated.

  5. starrc10 says:

    Adam, I have thought long and hard about why I am a football fan, and for me it comes down to having something to consistently talk to my father about, and when my buddies are having a hard time, this is a great icebreaker, since as men we don’t really want to just open the flood gates.

    There’s my justification for being obsessed, and it all fit in one sentence.

    I will definitely be looking at donating with Mrs Starr 🙂

  6. starrc10 says:

    Another thing, you should check out the things Football fans can do in DC, I was out there with my Father in law and hanging out with the Hogettes and some people from a website called extreme skins… they have quite the operation going centered around Redskins football.

  7. CO Vike Fan says:

    So, if you’ve been to the site, you can’t help but ask…

    Is Adam Warwas somehow connected to Adam Lambert? Or are the “Globerts” active followers of VikingsGab??

    hmmmmm….

  8. Purple Charlie says:

    Adam,
    Loved the post my friend, Just called to the Mrs. and she thought it was really nice and a chance to help the kids so we donated…

  9. Skee says:

    150 bucks so far. that is great. Lets keep it rolling! Thanks again Adam for the inspiration; really glad that I could help a little.

  10. Melanie says:

    Very proud mother! I have always enjoyed your writings and love that you have chosen this site as a way to give back, what an opportunity for the kids it will benefit!

  11. bigjohnny84 says:

    I will also make a contribution next week when I get paid. But I have to disagree with Adam on the State of the Union speech. I was more angered than inspired.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Thanks for helping Johnny.

      I had a feeling it was a matter of time before someone called me on that. But I really honestly wasn’t meaning to be political, as there were TONS of that speech I disagreed with. But the basic message of those speeches dating back to the first one is that we have problems in our country and we need to work together to solve them.

      All the details can be hashed over and scrutinized, but on the most basic level I was inspired.

      • bigjohnny84 says:

        Adam, in a perfect world I would agree but when the one speaking totally shuts out the other side, unfortunatly it becomes political. It’s a damn shame for sure. Ok enough politics this is a Vikings blog.

  12. […] full explanation as to why I decided to start doing this can be read here, but the nut-shell version is basically that in hard times, the sports and the arts are the first […]

  13. […] full explanation as to why I decided to start doing this can be read here, but the nut-shell version is basically that in hard times, the sports and the arts are the first […]

  14. […] full explanation as to why I decided to start doing this can be read here, but the nut-shell version is basically that in hard times, the sports and the arts are the first […]

  15. […] full explanation as to why I decided to start doing this can be read here, but the nut-shell version is basically that in hard times, the sports and the arts are the first […]

  16. […] As many of you know, I started the offseason by announcing that I would like to use Vikings Gab as a way of reaching out to youth sports.  To see how it all started, you can click here. […]

  17. […] As many of you know, I started the offseason by announcing that I would like to use Vikings Gab as a way of reaching out to youth sports.  To see how it all started, you can click here. […]

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