By: Timothy Kays
If you are a rival, you spend a lot of time trying to come up with ways to one-up the other rival. You find rivalries almost everywhere, especially in interscholastic athletics. Take Edon and Edgerton for example. They are two small communities along the Indiana border, separated by less than ten miles.
The Bulldogs and the Blue Bombers field rival teams in every sport but wrestling. The annual Edon-Edgerton football contest is known as, ‘The Game’. Even their respective athletic conferences, the BBC and the GMC, rival each other. You’ve just got to love those rivalries.
In the midst of all that rivalry though, there is something that takes place twice a year where these schools set aside their rivalry in order to join forces for something bigger that ANY rivalry. It’s called the Dash for Cash, and the unifying force behind it is without peer.
“It was started in 2017,” said Jacque Radabaugh of the Edon Athletic Boosters. “We’ve paired up with…the Edgerton Athletic Boosters and with Special Olympics. We do a Dash for Cash during the football season and the basketball season when we play them.”
“Usually we have a pretty good senior class, and we get seniors to do the dash. Otherwise we just typically use athletes, and they go through the crowd with cans or buckets or whatever and get donations, and then everything is presented to the Special Olympics.”
“It starts off at the beginning of the Varsity game,” said Tina Miller of the Edgerton Athletic Boosters. “We introduce all of the Olympians and their cheerleaders that will be there that night. During the National Anthem, they will be standing out with both basketball teams, so we make this a pretty big deal for them. Then during halftime is when our senior athletes go out and through the crowd and collect the money.”
“We give to the Special Olympics of William County,” Miller continued. I am the one that started this between the two schools. I was very fortunate that my children could play sports all year round. We know that the Special Olympics doesn’t get a lot of help, so this is why we’ve done this. We’ve done this for two years, and this last fall was our biggest dollar amount that we have given them yet. When we do this, 100% of the money goes to them.”
All this might sound a little like hyperbole in order to get more donations. If that is your thought, you need to think again, as the need is profoundly real. “I know that for a fact when we started this…it was the first time they got new uniforms since 1991,” Miller said.
Let that sink in for a second. The year was 1991. Bill Clinton had yet to be elected President. Nobody knew what an Mp3 was, let alone an iPod, iPad or a cell phone. The only Google that was around had a first name…Barney (kids, ask your parents). If your computer was up to date, it was probably running Windows 3. The Special Olympians of Williams County would receive the last new uniforms that they would get for nearly 30 years…it was all in 1991.
A sad trend of nearly three decades came to an abrupt end, not by any executive dictate, but because two schools set their rivalry aside, joined forces, and brought their combined energies to bear to unify two communities in a cause bigger than either of them.
The results were more than obvious when Edon traveled to Edgerton for their January 25 game. The scoreboard said that Edon won the game in a 34-32 nailbiter. The announcement that $1,953.64 had been raised said that the Special Olympians won the day, all thanks to rivals turned allies.
Yup…you’ve got to love those rivalries.
Timothy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org