Who: Alexander Clark, North High School Senior
What, Why, Where: Raising $3,995 to represent Minnesota and the U.S. at the America Downunder Summer Bowl in Australia and New Zealand
When: Due date is April 20th
Send donations to:
4329 Webber Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55412 #5
Or call (952) 715-0669
I’m sure not too much more explanation is needed than that, but personal experience with opportunities like this call for some more context and testimony.
The Whirlwind of activity that comes with one’s last year of high school can often be reflected on as the most important year of one’s life. Some drop out, some make life altering college choices, and some have the opportunity (pending your support) to travel to Australia to represent North Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the entire United States.
Alexander Clark sounds like the name of an ambassador, and in fact he will be an ambassador once he completes collection of the $3,995.00 required to partake in a trip to Australia for the 2010 America Downunder Summer Bowl held annually on the Gold Coast of Australia. Clark will participate in two football games and some amazing sightseeing in Australia, as well as New Zealand, through this opportunity.
Segments of the invitational letter read: Congratulations, you have been nominated to represent your state All-Star football team… Your hard work at Minneapolis North High School and skill on the football field have earned you a nomination… The trip of a lifetime awaits you… You will meet many other athletes from all over the World.
Now if you’re one of the three people who read my column weekly, then you know I’m big on our young urban students having worldly sensibility and knowledge. When Clark returns from this trip he will have a story to tell about every element of his trip, and the audience will be his peers, who perhaps have not traveled too far from the Minnesota or Midwest nest.
Having been successful in high school sports in California, I was invited to compete in a handful of hometown competitions that involved athletes from other distant countries. There’s no other way to put it than, it was off the wall cool, and even cooler to be able to say I beat ‘em. As a young man, you feel like you’ve conquered distant lands. It gives you a glimpse of the Olympic experience in that way, and oh trust that the international competition is more than warmed up and ready to put a brash young American in their place.
The other more relevant experience involved people coming together to send me to the U.S. Junior Track & Field Nationals in Spokane, WA. I’m on a search now to find out who foot the bill, because then I just accepted the vague “booster” answer, and probably should have thanked more people. That opportunity allowed me to compete against a future Olympic Silver Medalist. I would have to mark that experience as the only race I ever lost in which I wasn’t a bit perturbed thereafter. I watched Alvin Harrison’s back that whole race, ate all the dust he and his twin brother kicked up, and loved every moment of it. I had won just to be there, and Alexander Clark deserves the same opportunity to grow.
Mr. Clark is working his tail off doing yard work, and anything else he can get his hopeful hands on. “I’ll wash dishes!!” he told me. We’ll do another article to talk more about Alexander the person, but for now, let’s just make sure we do what community does. I think he’s done enough already to earn his trip (but keep working young man), and unlike an 18-year-old me, this young man has his thank you letters ready to roll.