Tournament relies on volunteers

By: Katelin Gandee - Staff writer

LAURINBURG — As hundreds of people flooded the James L. Morgan Complex and Optimist Park for the Dixie Softball State Championships, a legion of volunteers were at the heart of keeping much of the activities running smoothly.

With an almost never-ending line, the concessions seem to the most popular place to be — for fans and players alike. Offering everything from drinks to popcorn to hot dogs, the concessions, even after teams had been eliminated and the fields were less packed, still seemed to have a continuous line.

Those working concessions push hundreds of people through the line every day, and more than likely those people come up several times. While an exact number of how many people have been served is unknown, between both of the parks a total of 70 to 80 cases of water were devoured during the first two days.

During the heavy weekend rush, people filled the concession stand and consciously pushed people through two windows — along with a tent that strictly sold water.

According to Scotland Parks and Recreation Athletic Programs Supervisor Edmund Locklear, they wouldn’t have been able to get through the weekend without the volunteers.

“We had about seven people in each line at any given time during the weekend,” Locklear said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers — there aren’t enough of us at Parks and Recreation to keep it going by ourselves.”

The money raised from the concessions goes back to Parks and Recreation for the recreation fund to help pay for fun actives and other creative things for the community.

According to Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Graham, the volunteers are used in places with air-conditioning to make it convenient as possible for them.

“The volunteers are just as important as anyone else working the event,” Graham said. “This hasn’t just been a Parks and Recreation event, it’s been an entire county event and we couldn’t have done it without the volunteers and the community support.”

There was initially concern there wouldn’t be enough volunteers for the weekdays, but according to Cody Suggs, assistant athletic programs supervisor for Parks and Recreation, that wasn’t the case. Suggs said that, at times, they actually had too many volunteers helping. In total there was a range between 30 to 40 volunteers who have helped with the tournament helping with both concessions and in the score tower.

“Our staff is only so big and usually we’re only at one location but for this tournament, we were at two so having the volunteers helping out has been an advantage,” Suggs said. “It’s been really important for us to have the volunteers and they’ve all been wonderful with helping out.”

The two major days for the tournament were Saturday and Sunday before the teams began to be cut, which helped considering many volunteers had to go back to work on Monday leaving many of the slots they filled empty. The tournament continues until the finals on Wednesday at both parks with the number of teams playing dwindling each day through eliminations.

Katelin Gandee

Staff writer