Occasionally it takes something bad to to see the good in others.
Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 tropical nightmare that made landfall on Aug. 25, hit south Texas, including Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi.
But its damage didn’t stop there, dumping record rainfall on Houston and its surrounding areas.
51.88 Inches of rain which is a record in the continental United States for a single storm event
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This came a week before the start of the Texas high school football season. With more than 40 inches of rain in most areas, programs from Edinburg to Beaumont had to cancel Week 1 games.
At least 115 games were canceled, and affected communities had more pressing problems than a football game. Schools hundreds of miles away started donating money, food and clothing, and doing anything possible to contribute to the relief of those touched.
“It’s very touching and puts life in perspective,” said Susan Elza, UIL director of athletics. “To see the compassion in people during unimaginable scenarios like this — a hurricane of historic proportions in the state — and to see the outpouring of support, it’s so refreshing.”
$28,283,345 Amount raised through the J.J. Watt foundation as of 8 p.m. Sept. 6
Saginaw Boswell and Burleson Centennial kicked off their season Sept. 1, but in the days leading up to the game, the opponents united for the relief cause and raised nearly $5,000.
“Coach [Kyle] Geller and I talked and decided to join forces,” said Boswell coach John Abendschan. “Both campuses had donations during lunch for three days where the students gave money. It was a neat deal to see everyone join in and donate to help somebody else — how can you not feel compelled to reach out?”
The Texas High School Coaches Association played a big part in getting things started.
“The THSCA made a humongous effort of reaching out to all the schools and saying ‘let’s give, whatever you can do’ so we’ll be donating our check to them and they’ll distribute it out,” Abendschan said. “I’m thankful to be a part of an association that thinks bigger than themselves.”
Executive Director D.W. Rutledge says not only Texas coaches are getting involved, but coaches associations from four or five states were contributing. Anyone from coaches to parents can continue to send monetary donations to the THSCA.
“When Hurricane Harvey occurred and you saw all the schools, communities, coaches and players affected, we felt like there was something we had to do,” said Rutledge, who coached Converse Judson to four UIL state titles. “We made it easy to put into place for others, and 100 percent will go to the American Red Cross.”
Boswell and Centennial weren’t the only football teams involved. Donations were also raised at last week’s Fort Worth Benbrook-Ponder game, as well as Cleburne vs. Stephenville; Midlothian Heritage vs. Sunnyvale; Boerne Champion at Prosper; and Arlington Lamar vs. Keller Fossil Ridge.
Lamar football coach Laban DeLay said the program is planning to take in donations for all of its home games. The Vikings’ volleyball team has done the same.
“One of my booster club members thought about it, so we started taking donations to give to the Red Cross,” DeLay said. “We just want to help, and we love the game of football, but it’s a small thing whenever you watch the news and see what’s going on down there. Our thoughts and prayers go to those affected and we’ll do anything to help.”
Football isn’t the only sport donating as a number of programs in the area have put in their time to help Harvey victims.
Birdville girls basketball coach Amy Ingram and her team are adopting College Park High School and helping its displaced kids throughout the year.
Hundreds of students have volunteered to load trailers with donated items. At Richland, the Rebels are accepting T-shirt donations until Thursday. Assistant coaches Chuck Wells and Monte Sparkman came up with the idea after seeing it at the University of Houston.
“Obviously being from Texas, we want to support Texans and we were looking for a way to do that and I saw coach Kelvin Sampson’s tweet out of Houston asking for T-shirts,” Sparkman said. “Coach Wells and I got together and decided to do a T-shirt drive and we’ve been doing it for a half a week. We got quite a few shirts and we’re looking forward to sending those down to Houston.”
We figured that this was a great way to get us involved and send some Rebel gear down to them. The state of Texas is a great place to be and when tragedy happens, this is a great way to reach out and for the Richland Rebels to help out.
Richland assistant coach Chuck Wells
Celebrities are helping too. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has raised more than $28 million through his fund; Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show donated $1 million; Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donated $10 million, while point guard Chris Paul pledged $50,000; former Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish donated $100,000; and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is donating all the proceeds from his Sept. 16 tennis tournament, and Mavs owner Mark Cuban will match it up to $2 million.
Dallas-Fort Worth also opened its arms. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center in Dallas and the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center and Worth Heights Community Center opened their doors for Beaumont and other Gulf Coast residents.
On Labor Day, the Star-Telegram partnered with the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art toward accepting donations to be shipped to the affected areas.
“What a great way to come together as a community and a state to help out our own,” Sparkman said. “The question was never ‘are we going to,’ it was what can we do to help those down there and this is the first step of a wave of support for those affected. We just want to help as much as possible.”
Week 2 predictions
(Predicted winners in bold)
Keller Central vs. Richland
Flower Mound vs. Fossil Ridge
Midlothian Heritage vs. Benbrook
Polytechnic vs. Samuell
Saginaw vs. South Hills
Haltom vs. Dallas Sunset
Keller vs. McKinney
Azle vs. Timber Creeek
Bowie vs. Grand Prairie
South Grand Prairie vs. Lamar
Brewer vs. Weatherford
Arlington vs. Marcus
Cedar Hill vs. Mansfield
Carroll vs. Martin
North Crowley vs. L.D. Bell
Paschal vs. Burleson
Lake Highlands vs. Lewisville
Montgomery vs. Euless Trinity
Sam Houston vs. Duncanville
Nelson vs. San Angelo Central
Wylie vs. Hebron
Aguilaas Blancas (Mexico) vs. Aledo
Dunbar vs. Boswell
Summit vs. Chisholm Trail
McKinney North vs. Northwest
Frisco Reedy vs. Eaton
Red Oak vs. Arlington Heights
North Side vs. Carter-Riverside
Eastern Hills vs. Southwest
Burleson Centennial vs. Birdville
Frisco Heritage vs. Colleyville Heritage
Godley vs. Trimble Tech
Wyatt vs. Krum
Fort Worth YMLA vs. La Vega
Grapevine vs. Abilene Cooper
Wichita Falls vs. Cleburne
Crowley vs. Legacy
Everman vs. The Colony
Granbury vs. Turner
Joshua vs. Nolan Catholic
Arlington Seguin vs. Dallas Adams
Lake Ridge vs. Prosper
Lone Star vs. Timberview
Richardson vs. Midlothian
Waxahachie vs. Highland Park
Ferris vs. Castleberry
Diamond Hill-Jarvis vs. Wolfe City
Kennedale vs. Terrell
Lake Worth vs. Melissa
Mineral Wells vs. Breckenridge
Stephenville vs. Springtown
Connally vs. Glen Rose
Grandview vs. Hillsboro
Hirschi vs. Life Waxahachie
Venus vs. Adamson
Midland Christian vs. Brock
Trinity Valley vs. Country Day
Cumby vs. Oakridge
Southwest Christian vs. Molina
All Saints vs. Trinity Christian
Pantego Christian vs. Prince of Peace
Lancaster vs. South Oak Cliff
Western Hills vs. Jefferson
Last week: 39-24 (61.9 winning percentage)
Boswell volleyball and tennis: Monetary donations
Richland High School: T-shirt donations
Birdville girls basketball: Adopting College Park (The Woodlands) High School
Birdville boys basketball: Sent gear to the University of Houston
South Grand Prairie girls basketball: Adopting a high school
Burleson football: Collected $4,000 to help benefit Rockport
Grapevine softball: Holding a donation drive and adopting a high school
Midlothian Heritage volleyball: Monetary, gift cards and clothing donations
Fossil Ridge vs. Lamar football game: All proceeds donated to the Red Cross
Glen Rose volleyball: School shirt and shoe donations. 175 care packages made
Birdville vs. Timber Creek tennis: Collected donations
Haltom football: T-shirt donations
Chisholm Trail football: T-shirt donations
Weatherford vs. Northwest volleyball game: Collected donations for the Red Cross
Midlothian Heritage vs. Sunnyvale football game: Monetary donations
Colleyville Heritage volleyball and football: Collecting donations at games
Timber Creek High School: School supply donations until Sept. 21 - delivery on Sept. 23
Granbury girls athletics, swimming, tennis and football: Water, clothes and $1,300 donated
Carroll vs. Lamar volleyball game: Collected donations
Carroll volleyball and football: Volunteered loading donations into trailers
Rockwall football: Volunteered loading donations into trailers
Boerne Champion vs. Prosper football game: Monetary donations
Benbrook vs. Ponder football game: Monetary donations
Cleburne vs. Stephenville football game: Monetary donations