STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Marble Falls High School athletic director and boys head soccer coach Rick Hoover admitted he got a little emotional Oct. 23 when the Pflugerville High School volleyball teams walked into Max Copeland Gym with cases of bottled water and sports drinks, bundles of paper towels, 15 bottles of cleaners, and Lowe’s gift cards.
“When those girls walked into that gym carrying those supplies,” he said, “I’m 53. I had to fight back tears. It was incredible.”
That gesture was the latest in support from opponents across Central Texas in response to the recent flooding in the Highland Lakes.
On Oct. 20, during the Bastrop-Marble Falls football game, which had to be rescheduled, a generous donation of $1,260 from Bears fans was presented.
When Leander Glenn head football coach Rob Schoenfeld heard about how the Highland Lakes was affected by flooding, he spoke with Kim Shuttlesworth, the director of bands at the school, about leading a cleaning supplies drive for Marble Falls.
He noted the Marble Falls area holds a special place in his heart because he spent many happy summers boating on lakes LBJ and Marble Falls as a youngster when he visited from Victoria.
“All of us in Leander send our prayers and anything we can do,” Schoenfeld said. “We know there’s a long list of things to clean up.”
Even former foes such as Dripping Springs and Austin Vandegrift have reached out to Hoover to ask how they can contribute.
“(The Vandegrift booster club) is organizing and raising money and gift cards, cleaning supplies, and things for the community,” Hoover said. “I have received calls, emails, texts from coaches and athletic directors all over the state, all pretty much with the same message: Tell us what you need and how we can help.”
Those messages illustrate the bond people who work in sports have and how athletics teaches more than game strategies and fundamentals, he said.
Hoover noted this is the first time he has witnessed a natural disaster affect where he lives. The response, he added, has made him even prouder to be living here.
“They’re rolling up their sleeves and helping neighbors and looking in the eyes of tragedy,” he said. “(Athletics) is the brotherhood and sisterhood that keeps us all together. The way we managed through this is pretty remarkable.”
The donated supplies are at Marble Falls Independent School District’s Central Office. Contact personnel at (830) 693-4357 for more information.