My Turn: Here are some reasons to love this town

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2003

We had just left the Juneau-Douglas dance team show last Thursday, and had gone less than a block before we looked at each other and said, "This is a great town!"

It is so obvious at events like that one - an evening dedicated to the dance team that drew a completely full house. We were squeezed in among a bunch of high school kids, but right behind us were full families, and up a little higher were some older folks who never miss a high school event no matter what. Cheek to jowl, everybody excitedly awaiting the evening's performance.

Lissa Cooper sang the national anthem. When she finished I leaned over to the person next to me and whispered "Wow." To which that person responded, "No kidding."

I was struck by how nice all the kids were. Without exception they were polite, and happy to be there. Squeeze over yet again so a friend of ours could wiggle in? You bet! After all the seats were gone, several members of the varsity basketball squad showed up and sat cross-legged on the floor in front of us. Pretty smooth dudes, but when Rachel Scandling performed her solo they were unabashed fans, hooting and hollering in boyish support of her stunning effort. And when the dad's drill team did its thing, these big handsome lads were on their feet cheering before anybody else. I must say, those brave and talented dads deserved the standing ovation they got.

And the dance team! What a professional performance they laid before the huge, appreciative crowd. The masters of ceremony (Craig Dahl and Tom Sullivan) were at once witty and professional, providing the lubricant that allowed the show to flow so smoothly. The team, too, displayed an impressive level of professionalism, and clearly enjoyed every routine they gave us. Genuine good stuff from start to finish, and the crown genuinely ate it up.

This year is something of a new beginning for the dance team, and while the young women deserve much credit for their accomplishments, they had a pretty impressive group of coaches helping them along the way. Head coach Mandy Bixby, co-coach Leslie Dahl, and assistant coach Christa Cadiente brought a wealth of experience and talent to the effort - and it showed.

All these things made the evening memorable. But why did we look at each other and say "This is a great town?" It was the fact that at the head of the gym on special bleachers was a sizable contingent from the Southeast Panhandlers, the local Harley club! They came, looking their part, because there were several dance routines with Harley Davidson themes. They caught wind of it, and decided they had to be there. They got portable bleachers at the head of the gym so they could "high-five" the dads and the girls as they came in for their Harley routines!

It was just too cool. I love this town.

Tom Carson of Juneau is a partner at an engineering company. His daughter was on the JDHS Dance Team for three years and he was on the dad's drill team each of those years.

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