Changing Traditions - 2005/2006

The day began early Saturday morning at 8 am for my last year of Slam and Jam, a volleyball fundraiser for local charities sponsored by area high schools. Previous years were spent coming together for a few short hours to play games of volleyball on a team with friends. We never won a game. It was just the fun of being on the sands of Coconut Beach and listening to music in the sunshine.

This year was different, however. There was no sand in my toes. The location was no longer at Coconut Beach. (Coconut Beach was a casualty of Katrina and won’t be rebuilt because it is the site of some new floodgates). And the day dawned not so much sunny and warm, as breezy and cloudy. But as the day heated up, so did the events, and my team of friends even won a few games in the process. For the first year ever, we made it to a playoff game.

After Katrina, this event almost didn’t take place and the charities who benefit from the proceeds would have been left empty handed. All the schools who participate in the competition, however, got together and contributed what they could to make this Slam and Jam as successful as the previous ones. Archbishop Rummel High School donated the school’s track and field area. They set up volleyball nets and poles which were donated by the other associated schools. Schools pooled their resources down to the last trash can until this Slam and Jam had what it needed to go on. The kids of the participating school even seemed friendlier with one another. There seemed to be many more familiar faces than in previous years. I guess it was due to the fact that so many schools were thrown together during the transitional period of Katrina’s aftermath. This allowed us to make new friends we would have normally never met.

All of this proves that some good did come out of Katrina. This Slam and Jam, though sand-less, was personally my most memorable and a great way to finish off my senior year. The year also had a happy ending for our brother school, Rummel, who was victorious for the ninth Slam and Jam win in a row. But most of all it had a happy ending for the charities that would benefit from the proceeds.