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April 27, 2008

Introducing the Rocker Fund

In light of the recent discussion on athlete funding, this seems like a great opportunity to introduce a new fan-led fundraising initiative in support of America's short track speedskaters. Lori and Mtnme spearheaded this effort and their vision for the initiative follows, in their words.

The Rocker Fund – Supporting America’s Short Track Athletes

“True dedication is representing a country, most of which only seriously acknowledges you every four years. Being your best even when networks won't give you airtime. Giving your all even when your victories are printed under 'other sports'. For them it has to be for the love of the game, and THAT is what creates champions.” -- A Fan

The Rocker Fund – is a small, grass-roots effort that has sprung up among Apolo and/or Short Track fans who wish to support individual skaters directly to help with the expenses inherent in competing at the National and Junior levels. Our goal is to appeal to the generosity of all the fans at all the fan sites, be they Apolo fans, Short Track fans or both.

Our very first Skaters of the Month: Lezleigh Jaworski and Barry Winslow
Click Leslie's and Barry's names for their stories and info on how to donate.

This endeavor is a way to give something back to the athletes who have brought us so much enjoyment and pleasure over the years, through their passion, hard work and dedication in pursuit of a dream. Our hope is that this will promote a greater connection between athletes and fans - inspiring more people to attend short track events, which will benefit the sport as a whole.

We know there will be plenty of questions, which will be too lengthy to address here. Most of them have been answered at GotApolo.com on TheRockerFund thread.

The domain name therockerfund.org has been registered and Theresa is doing great work in creating a web site specifically for the skaters to post their bios, donation info., and pictures.

A Little History: How did The Rocker Fund get started? Sour grapes, actually. Or, a little more accurately, sucking on lemons and deciding to make lemonade with them instead. We were planning to purchase VIP tickets for World Cup 6. When those were unavailable to us, we decided it would be a nice idea to take the cost difference, and donate the money to a struggling ST athlete. That sounds easy enough, right? It wasn’t.

So we walked away from Salt Lake City with our money still in our pockets, a lot of work to do, and a commitment to help as many ST athletes as we could. Hence, the seeds for The Rocker Fund were planted.

Since Salt Lake City, many individuals, clubs and skaters have helped us with our research on how to best put this plan into action. Far too many to name here, you know who you are, and we greatly appreciate your input. The following are the fruits of everyone’s labor.

In the meantime, I leave you with this very eloquent paragraph from Skaterswaltz, which really does say it all:

“All I know is that Apolo introduced me to a world I didn't really know existed. It started in 2002 for lots of us. I went to Nationals, then Worlds specifically to see Apolo (and, to be honest, he is still my main interest and probably always will be) but as each day went by I became more drawn into their world. I couldn't believe how some of my favorite moments were watching Apolo and his teammates just warming up. I can't believe how eager I am to stay up the next few nights in the hope of finding a live feed from Korea somehow. And all the really wonderful "virtual" friends I've made that share my same passion (obsession?) and the thrill of getting to meet some of them in person.

For that reason, however it all ends up -- I would love to give back what I can to the athletes and an organization that has opened up an entire new world to me. That's the least I can do.”

One final note - Please be generous with your support.

mtnme & Lori GND

Posted by noelle at 4:20 PM | Comments (16)