Butler’s Curtis Hancock, the Ashland Grizzlies Football Team and the Pacific Rim Bowl

29 Jul

Disney got it right with it’s saccharin-sweet ditty “It’s a Small World”.
I’m constantly surprised how many people, places and things are connected…  “six degrees of separation” and all. It happened again this week as I was researching our next Drive One 4 UR School event.  My question was, why are we holding a Drive One to benefit Ashland High school on August 20th…  in the dead of summer… when no one’s in school? Turns out, the fundraiser will benefit the Grizzlie Football Program.  Okay, it’s making a little more sense now… I mean, who wouldn’t want to think about football all year long, including during the scorching-hot dog days of summer?  But it turns out there actually is a method to the madness, and it all comes down to Japan.

Players in the 2009 Pacific Rim Bowl

Yep, Japan.  See, the Ashland Grizzlies have been playing a Japanese All-Star team every other year since 1988 when varsity players, under the leadership of coach Jim Nagel, flew to Osaka for the very first Pacific Rim Bowl game (read the history of the Pacific Rim Bowl here:

http://www.ashlandfootballclub.com/Page.asp?NavID=13).  Ever since then, Ashland and Japanese teams have taken turns hopping the Pacific.  This year’s bowl game takes place TONIGHT, July 29  at Walter A. Phillips Field (at Ashland High).  For more information visit: http://www.ashlandfootballclub.com/Index.asp).  For the week or two that they’re away from home players stay with host families and immerse themselves in the foreign culture.  Coaches say the experience is exciting, educational and often life changing.

But if you think it was expensive transporting an entire football team complete with coaching staff and gear overseas in 1988, imagine the price tag today.  Ashland Head Coach Charlie Hall estimates their next trip in 2013 will cost one hundred grand.  Thus, the need for fundraising.

Curtis Hancock, Butler’s Service Manager

Enter the Ashland Football Club and, here’s where it gets wild – club Vice President Curtis Hancock… who also happens to be Butler’s Service Manager.  Curtis played in the Pacific Rim Bowl about a decade ago and feels strongly that other players should get the same chance.  So he’s helping raise awareness about the Bowl game while also raising funds.  That’s where Butler gets involved, and why it makes sense to hold the Drive One event in August, not long after this year’s Pacific Rim Bowl, when hype is at its height and when preparation for football season is just getting ramped up.

So, see, it really is a small world!  And the more we support programs like the Pacific Rim Bowl that introduce us to other people in other places, the more we’ll feel like one people, the smaller the world will become.  And that’s a goal worth reaching for, even if it means playing football in July.

To hear Curtis and coaches, including Ashland Head Coach Charlie Hall, talk about the game, visit www.solive.mypodcast.com.  To learn how you can help Curtis and Butler
Auto Group raise money for the team visit http://www.facebook.com/ButlerFord#!/photo.php?fbid=10150395162523438&set=a.10150395162363438.437214.388440943437&type=1&theater.

The “truck push”, one of the activities leading up to the Pacific Rim Bowl game, July 2011