Not once this weekend did registration for the Sunflower State Games in Allen Fieldhouse take longer than 10 minutes, and games participants can thank a host of volunteers for it.
While Laura Kelly, Kansas Recreation and Parks Assn. director for the games, ran between Kansas University's Robinson Sports Center and the fieldhouse with a video camera, and volunteer coordinator Linda Trotter scurried from event to event, a dozen volunteers calmly checked in the competitors.
"Oh, the volunteers. You name it, they do everything from running ice out to the venues, to doing scorekeeping, to all the behind-the-scenes work in the media center," Kelly said en route to Robinson to videotape basketball games for a promotional video.
Kelly estimated that close to 500 volunteers were helping out with the games, which began Friday and end today in Lawrence.
About half of those 500 were volunteers that Trotter said she and her staff had solicited since the begining of summer. The other half were recruited by the Recreation and Parks Assn. or just walked in.
VOLUNTEERS come in all shapes and sizes this year, from 84-year-old Teresa Reed to children Kelly recalled seeing with their volunteer T-shirts dragging down around their knees.
"They may have mothers or fathers, or the parents have kids participating in an event, so when they're not doing a sport they come and volunteer just to make sure the event happens," Kelly said.
Local church groups and civic clubs also joined with the Kansas Recreation and Parks Assn. and the Lawrence Sports Corporation to organize and conduct the games, Kelly said.
Volunteers at each event keep in touch with directors and one another with radios and portable phones donated by Bendix-King, a local electronics company and a sponsor of the games, and Cellular-One, a cellular telephone company.
"I THINK it's that spirit of service that brings them out, but I think more than that it's just a real fun event to be a part of," Kelly said.
Monica Dueringer, who plays on the KU racquetball team, drove in from Olathe to help organize the games' racquetball events.
"I really don't mind driving all the way out here because I love racquetball and tournaments, and they need some people who can put it together so the events don't fall apart," Dueringer said.
Between her own games, Dueringer kept scorecards and made sure participants were in the right courts at the right times.
"The games would not happen without the volunteers," Kelly said. "I think the community should be commended for the enthusiasm and the support that they give an event like this."