This month my day job collides with my unpaid volunteer job as Chairman of the Chamber. It’s May and for anyone who has been in Grand Junction for at least 24 hours, that means its time for another JUCO! The (ahem) Alpine Bank Junior College World Series has been played by some of the best community college level baseball athletes for 60 years. And for sixty years, the community has rallied around these aspiring athletes that arrive by the busload from places like Arkansas City, Kansas (Cowley), Centerville, Iowa (Indian Hills), Seminole, Oklahoma (Seminole) and Marianna, Florida (Chipola).
This is a week that is like no other in a place like no other. Jamie Hamilton, Bruce Hill and a cadre of over 90 volunteers work to produce this first-class tournament year-round. Service clubs now have members who were once bat boys for teams in the tournament. And oftentimes, these young men, members of the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club now serve on host committees to make every team feel welcome and that each player feels like they are standing at bat before a home field fan base.
From the banquet to the final pitch of the final game our community becomes a baseball mecca for over a week. Business and other community meetings are postponed due to fears of a lack of a quorum with everyone at the ballpark rather than at their desks. This is indeed a glorious week to be in Grand Junction for a local like me.
One is tempted when doing the Chairman Column for the Chamber of Commerce newsletter to focus on the economic benefits of JUCO (and there are many) or focus on how this event puts us on the map from a tourism perspective (which it does).
In the end, however, it is the memories and the excitement and the games that we remember, not the statistics so I hope you will join me in being part of JUCO spirit week, sponsored by Home Loan and Nationwide. It will help amplify this spirit we all embrace when you paint your business windows, hang those banners and fly those pennants. Tell the Chamber staff you want a kit…that’s all it takes. And then join me at the ballpark for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series May 26th through June 2nd.