For over 3,000 people, game day was easy and fun. It was the first of its kind for many, and for some, it brought back many memories of the past. Our players, many of whom thought their last college or pro game would be their last time ever suiting up, got one last go-around. As everyone watched and enjoyed the game, cheering on our team, it was clear that the months of preparation were paying off.
I was tasked with supplies and logistics for the game. That’s an easy task, right? Having experience helping coach a youth football team, I thought, “How hard can this be?” Yeah, man, I learned very quickly that our team from the PPA was in for a big challenge to tackle in a limited time.
You always hear about the staff of trainers, locker room attendants, field management teams, etc. I mean, the number of behind-the-scenes folks working for a college football program, let alone a professional football team, must be staggering. The behind-the-scenes folks are vital to the success of the program and event, and I can tell you from having just a small glimpse into their world that those folks are worth their weight in gold.
After a few months of planning and fundraising, we came to the two-weeks-to-game-day mark. Reality was setting in that we were here, the game was rapidly approaching, and we needed to get on our horses and start hustling to make this a success. We needed to plan, stock and staff several key areas for the game to be successful. Game day preparation began for our team at 11 a.m. to ensure everything was in place and ready to kick off a great night for charity.
First and foremost, we needed to properly stock our players’ locker rooms to ensure both teams had everything they would need to be successful and healthy before, during and after the game. We needed to acquire athletic training tables and training supplies for the players and the athletic trainers who volunteered their time to assist both teams. The training staff was top-notch and amazing in providing care to our players. We had many, many trips to Costco for supplies. As game day approached and the weather forecast kept raising the temperatures on us, we knew hydration was going to be crucial. We had over 30 gallons of water and Gatorade on the field and in the locker rooms to ensure the players could stay hydrated. The locker rooms were also stocked with protein bars, snacks and even the wonderful youth football treat of quartered oranges.
Setting up the main entry and vendor row was next. The entry control point to the field was very tight and confined. That was an area of concern — however, there were not a lot of other options for this. But once you were inside the stadium, everything opened up to a giant step-and-repeat photo opportunity with all of our donors’ logos and the Police vs. Fire logo. Just past that were food trucks and the Bonanza High snack bar area. As you walked to the stands, we had our vendor area set up with raffles, Police vs. Fire T-shirts, LVMPD recruiting and the LVMPD Foundation. Kicking it all off in front of the stands was Marc Prager, who not only is an airport officer but owns his own DJ company, Music In Motion. DJ Marc kept the fans pumped up and ready for kickoff.
Throughout the night, we were all kept busy with different tasks and coordinating the halftime presentation. It was truly awesome to be able to surprise the coaches for Bonanza with a donation to the football program! Although we were busy, we did get chances to stop and take in a few plays and awesome hits. The night was such a huge success. We could not have done it without our team and help from our Board of Directors and others who helped volunteer. It was an eye-opening event in how much work actually was needed to make this a success. However, in the end, it was all worth it, and I hope we can make next year’s event better.