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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oxnard Team Kicks Off on April 4

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."-Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4...April 4...April 4... why does that date sound so familiar?  
Let's see...

On April 4, 1581, Sir Francis Drake finished circumnavigating the globe.
On April 4, 1841 William Henry Harrison died from pneumonia, the first US President to die in office.
On April 4, 1917, the US Senate voted 90-6 to enter World War I.
On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's record.

No. Those are important events, but they don't ring a bell.  What I remember about April 4 is the U2 lyrics from Pride (In the Name of Love)

Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/they could not take your pride.

Those lyrics were written to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, and that song has burned April 4 permanently into my brain.

Now, here's another reason to remember April 4 (if you read the headline to this post, you already know):

Drum roll please....

April 4 is the very first practice of the Riptide Sled Hockey Team.  They practice in Oxnard at Channel Islands Ice Center, the same rink where the clinic was held in January.  There is a map to the ice rink on the side of the screen.

The practice begins with a warm up at 12:45PM, and the team will hit the ice from 1:15-2:15.  Athletes need to bring their own hockey helmets.  Those who don't have helmets can purchase one from the rink.  Athletes do not have to pre-register, but it would be helpful to get a head count ahead of time (and make sure there is a sled available for you).  Contact to pre-register or to ask any questions.

Yay!  Applause! Fireworks!

This has been a labor of love for Mel and Rhonda Waidmann, who have been tirelessly working on getting this team started for many months.  They have held car washes and fundraisers at restaurants (where the team gets a percentage of the proceeds from the sales for a particular night).  They have gathered donations from businesses and individuals, and they have coordinated with the director of the ice rink.  It's not easy, yet they have done it all with gracefulness and unyielding energy.  They finally had gathered enough money to order their first sleds for their team.

There is a lot of work ahead for the Riptide Sled Hockey Team, but the Waidmanns and their friends and family can take pride in how far they have come so quickly.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. once wisely said, "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."  There will be more battles to fight, more hills to climb, and more cars to wash.  Let this be the first of many practices and the first of many sled orders.

Another thing King said was, "Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." Those of you who have worked to make the Riptide Sled Hockey team happen, my hat is off to you.  You are making this world a better place, one hockey stick at a time.

Meanwhile, the Junior Reign Sled Hockey team has been practicing at Ice Town in Riverside every other Monday night at 7PM. They just got a shipment of three more sleds, so they are making room for you. The next practices are March 19, April 2, April 16, April 30, and May 7. The first practice is free, so come try it out. Sleds and equipment are available for you to borrow.  You do not need to pre-register, just come out and get in a sled.  Sleds are first-come, first-served, and, if there aren't enough sleds, athletes who are physically disabled get the sleds before athletes who are not physically disabled.

...and, since some of you now have the song in your head, let me end with this video.  

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