Superhero Night Saturday at the Medicine Hat Mavericks game was everything we hoped it would be.
But it took a lot of little things to make it come together.
First was the idea for it, which I had nothing to do with. Team owner Greg Morrison came to me in May with the plan to have special jerseys and auction them off with proceeds going to our Extra Life campaign. Needless to say it was an automatic yes, though I'll admit that as sports editor of the paper and in charge of covering the team, I'm still a tiny bit nervous about it. So long as nobody thinks they're getting biased coverage because they did something nice I was involved in, I'm all for it.
Then Greg asked about throwing out the first pitch. Dominic had thrown the first pitch at a game two years ago, but I ended up having to underhand it for him. Then he threw a foam ball 80 million times in the stands. Anyways, I figure I'd done my first pitch: I wanted someone else to do the honour.
There's a group called the 501st Legion that cosplays at charity events as Stormtroopers and other evildoers from the Star Wars universe. One of them attended our 25-hour game day last year and afterwards wanted to put us in contact with another family whose child has cancer. So it was that we learned about Violet's Army. Violet, 9, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and did an amazing job throwing out the first pitch. "She did better than I would've," said her mom.
Two members of the 501st were able to attend Superhero Night, driving in from Calgary and Swift Current and sweating buckets in their amazing costumes. Kids (and some adults) posed for photos with them, and there were lots of high-fives and thumbs-ups.
Thanks to public address announcer Guy Lanigan there was also appropriate music for the Stormtroopers. He put a playlist together with lots of superhero-related songs and sound effects, which really made for a fun time. I even re-wrote the usual game day script, sprinkling in comic book, movie and TV superhero references throughout. Taylor Van Der Kooy, the general manager, and her staff decorated the park and did an amazing job too.
And then there was Spider-man.
Greg had put out the call to anyone who wanted to cosplay at the game that night, but got no takers. But earlier Saturday, we were downtown for the annual chili cookoff and saw a guy dressed in a Spider-man costume.
Me: "Have you heard about Superhero Night at the Mavs game?"
Spidey: "I've never even been to a baseball game before."
We offered him a free ticket and the Mavs added in some food and beverages. He was game. And now I have Spider-man's phone number. Read it and weep, J. Jonah Jameson!
The game went great, though between organizing things and working the Extra Life table we set up in the concourse, I didn't see much of it. The home side won 8-1, and just before we were about to do a cheque presentation after the eighth inning there was a bench-clearing... fracas? Incident? I don't know if brawl is the right word since I didn't see any punches. Because we were on the staircase waiting to go on the field we didn't actually even see the play at the plate that caused it. Sure was interesting though!
Anyways, the team presented us with a $1,500 cheque which will go to the Alberta Children's Hospital via our #Dominicstrong Extra Life team. And we got $300 in cash donations at the table. And Samantha had a great time dressed as Wonder Woman.
Best of all? Greg said he'd like to make this an annual event. Watch out for Superhero Night 2018!
Up next: Five Guys burgers and fries day, Aug. 20 at their Medicine Hat store only. Mention Extra Life #Dominicstrong at the till and 20 per cent of your purchase will be donated to our Extra Life efforts!