December 5, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Volunteers Embrace Super 7
to Make Special Memories for Teams, Fans
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Once the Alabama High School Athletic Association Super 7 State Football Championships begin on Wednesday, it will be easy for fans to spot their favorite team. The team most responsible for the success of the event may not be quite as conspicuous, but it has been putting in extra hours making memories from three days at Bryant-Denny Stadium last a lifetime.
“The volunteers that each community provide for our championship events are the foundation of the event,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Without those volunteers, we could not provide the quality event we do. We have so many people who give of their time to give back to the community.”
The long tradition of community support for AHSAA championship events began in Birmingham when the Monday Morning Quarterback Club and the Birmingham Tipoff Club got involved in the football and basketball championships decades ago. Now, with the football championships rotating between Tuscaloosa and Auburn, those communities and universities have taken up the mantle and taken it to a new level.
According to the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports staff, there will be 434 volunteers working more than 1,700 hours during Super 7 week.
“Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports values our community partnerships above all else,” said Don Staley, the CEO and president of the tourism group. “Nothing is more vital to the success of our events than the selfless commitment of all those involved.”
Volunteers work as team hosts, selling and taking tickets at the gates, providing suite hospitality and staffing the press box. There are 62 volunteers per shift.
“I am a team host and having been doing this since 2009,” said Richard Powell, staff civil engineer at the University of Alabama. “My role is to coordinate everything that the team needs while in Tuscaloosa, which includes making sure that their hotel is ready for them when they arrive, restaurants can accommodate them, they have a place to have a walk-through or practice if needed and whatever else they need.”
It’s not just people who provide the vital support necessary to make the Super 7 a success. The universities and business community are critical partners.
“Both universities embrace our event,” Savarese said. “They treat us just like it’s any college football game that they’re hosting. It’s the most humbling experience I’ve been part of. It’s been such a great experience to watch Auburn and Alabama, who compete at the highest level, work together in the same fashion. It’s been a tremendous experience and I’ve gained a tremendous respect for both universities because of their commitment, their selflessness and their service to our member schools.”
Max Karrh, a senior vice president at Bryant Bank, said the finance professionals enjoy sharing their expertise – and getting out to the stadium. “Bryant Bank is proud to provide Super 7 volunteers each time it rolls around to Tuscaloosa,” he said. “With about 10 bankers, we have the fun opportunity to engage with, and welcome, the guests by helping sell tickets at the front gate. As a bank, we can lend our expertise and experience of handling cash properly and securely to enhance this statewide event that is a huge economic boost to Tuscaloosa. It’s a win-win situation for all involved!”
The teams involved in the Super 7 recognize how volunteers make the event run as smoothly as possible. The volunteers know how important their efforts are to the community and the participants, but they also get something extra from giving their time.
“I volunteer because I feel like it is vital to help people in need, which I feel is a worthwhile cause, while helping the community and hopefully making it a better place,” Powell said. “I believe that volunteering is a two-way street. It benefits the individual as much as it benefits the organization that you are helping. I believe that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience. Volunteering allows me to connect with others that, in turn, brings fun and fulfillment to my life.
“This experience has allowed me to make new friends, and has expanded my network by exposing me to people with common interests,” he said. “Finally, I enjoy volunteering because it allows me to establish strong relationships, it is good for society and it gives me a sense of purpose.”
Savarese pointed out a monetary benefit of having such an outpouring of community support at the Super 7 venues. “Because of our volunteers, we’re able to give back to our schools with guarantees for playing in the playoffs,” he said. “Whether they have five fans or 5,000 – they are going to get a guarantee because of the universities’ commitment to the event and the communities’ commitment. It lowers our expenses and we’re able to do more for our member schools.”
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The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions.