Last Saturday night, volleyball fans, former players, friends, and family came from near and far to celebrate Emily. The festivities started at 5:30 in the sauna that is more commonly known as Ducey Gymnasium (seriously, in the history of the gym’s existence the temperature has never dropped below 93 degrees). There were delicious homemade desserts for sale along with awesome “Fight Like a Girl” wristbands and t-shirts. Not only did most of the crowd end up sporting one these shirts in Emily’s honor, but so did the entire Cal Lu volleyball team. The CMS Athenas also wore special warm-ups emblazoned with “EmBen #11” on the back.
The Athenas put up a strong effort but the nationally ranked Cal Lu Regals came away victorious. Some of the crowd even got in on the volleyball action by participating in a half time serving competition. There was no single champion from the serving competition, but when 20+ people are serving at the same time with balls flying everywhere and only one person gets hit in the head (that I saw), that is a victory in itself.
All in all, the night was a huge success raising $4,000 to help cover Emily’s medical expenses. The Cal Lu community was so kind and generous as they rallied to support one of CMS’ own. Ten women who played with Emily during her time at CMS returned for the evening to sit in the stands with her and cheer on the new generation of Athenas. Countless other friends made the trek to Claremont from all across Northern and Southern California as well. The fun isn’t over yet, though. This weekend there are six more Dig Deep, Beat Cancer volleyball matches being played throughout the SCIAC conference to raise awareness about lung cancer and Emily’s fight.
Thanks so much to everyone who came out last weekend with bright smiles and big spirit. The night would not have been as memorable without you. There are a few folks that deserve special recognition for being extra awesome, however. A super BIG thank you goes out to:
- John Brankse & Buddy’s All-Stars, Inc. for donating the Fight Like a Girl t-shirts
- Wright Design for donating the EmBen #11 warm up shirts
- Kelli Smith for making all of the delicious desserts
- Heather Semelmacher and Kyra Ray for handling the sales of all those t-shirts and bracelets
- Darby Anderson & Jill’s Legacy for supporting and promoting the event from afar and sending all of the great swag to help raise awareness for Emily, Jill, and everyone battling lung cancer
- Michael Preston for his exceptional emceeing of the entire night
- Emily Scalmanini and Erin Graves for running their little own table where people could color or write message to Emily
- Mike Haas for his ongoing support and generosity towards all things related to Athena Volleyball
- Kellie Roesel for being willing to switch her own team’s schedule around to accommodate this event and jumping on board to support Emily 110%
- Kurt Vlasich for rallying the SCIAC teams to Emily’s cause and working so hard on the logistics and all of the little details to make the night so great
- Diana Graves for first envisioning this event to support and honor Emily so many months ago, and working tirelessly to bring it to fruition. Also, for being such a dedicated friend and coach to so many lucky Athenas over the years 🙂