BC stand re-opens for business

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Walking into the Bennett’s Creek Little League concession stand at Driver Elementary School over the next few months, you might be surprised at how different things look from last year.

There’s new ceiling fans, sinks, countertops, and soda machines. The walls are lined with stripes of burgundy and yellow, the league’s colors (for the past two seasons, seven teams of baseball and softball All-Stars have won these colors to District 6 championships and on to state competition). Several nights a week, the stand will be bustling with volunteers, handing out hot dogs, burgers, fries, hot chocolate, soda, candy, and other treats to league players, parents and coaches.


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But what you don’t see, what your eyes can’t quite conjure up, may be even more important. That’s the dedication and the teamwork that so many have shown over the past few months to make the stand what it is today, and what it hopefully will be for seasons to come.

Back in late August, an accidental fire swept through the stand. After reducing much of the downstairs to rubble, the blaze roared up, destroying decades worth of banners and trophies that the league had brought to Suffolk over the years.

These things can never be replaced. But the fire that broke a league’s heart wasn’t anywhere near as strong as the one that burned inside the hearts and minds of all those who came together to rebuild the edifice for their children, their friends, their city, and themselves.

&uot;People were coming out within the first couple of weeks,&uot; says league treasurer Robin Cousins, whose two children play BC ball. &uot;Cleaning was a big thing – we had to rip up the machinery, some equipment, drywall, windows, and carpets.&uot; That wasn’t the only thing that did some ripping – Hurricane Isabel was an unwelcome visitor last September, dumping light posts across the field and tearing down fences at both Driver Elementary and John Yeates Middle schools, where the league also holds games.

But nothing could stop the passion of BC’s faithful. Even before the stand opened up last week, BC set up a makeshift stand in the form of a tent, grill and cooler during Fall Ball competition late last year. &uot;It was very difficult, not being able to offer a wide variety of things,&uot; said Driver Director of Operations Jennie Morris. &uot;We didn’t have access to a large work space, so we couldn’t really bring in the money. But we always had good food and good service – that will never change.&uot;

Volunteers kept showing up, reframing the stand, painting, putting up drywall, and bringing in new equipment. The upstairs room where the memorabilia was destroyed remains empty for the time being. The stand – the main source of income for the league’s utilities, umpires, and continued field maintenance, is better than it was before.

&uot;The changes are great,&uot; says worker Marissa Dageneis, topping off a soda for a thirsty young outfielder. &uot;We’re shocked that it turned out so great, because no one expected it.&uot;

About the only thing that the stand hasn’t yet recovered are its fryers. But as long as coaches like Mike Crabb are around, patrons won’t be disappointed. &uot;We’re all taking turns out here,&uot; says Crabb, rotating a meal of hot dogs outside on the grill. &uot;Everybody here did a great job on the stand.&uot;

Customers like Barbara Milan can attest. &uot;The tent was great,&uot; she says of the Fall Ball offering, carrying a few cups of hot chocolate back to her friends at the softball field &uot;They did a great job making sure our needs were met. But it’s better to have the stand, because it’s a little more controlled from the safety aspect. Everybody helped out, and everyone did so much work. I’ll be spending a lot of time there during this season.&uot;

The league thanked the following families and companies on its Web site, www.bennettscreek.org:


BB&T Bank

Driver Contractors

Tidewater Prosthetic Center

Jo Ann & Warren Brooks

Lee Armistead

Alton & Kelli Overton

Rolland & Audra Favre

John & Kimberly Lamb

Ruby & Lewis Garnett

Sandy Bottom Materials

Owen Thomasson

Henry Adams Jr.

Karen & Robert Turner

Kathy & W.L. Little

Buddy & Lynne Wood

A.N. & Marie Kendrick

C. Leonard & Loretta Willis

Cavalier Exxon

Ritch & Associates, Inc.

Glenn & Jill Genier

Bradco Supply

Linda Johnson