Rally Day 2023, by Ted Randolph, Growth & Fellowship It was wettish the day before, and sort of gloomy the day of Rally Day, so we held the event right outside the JE Room in the driveway this year (and on adjacent grass for the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest). Other than the slightest passing sprinkle, which no one even deigned to notice, the weather held and was really just right. Who knows, the lower barometric pressure may even have helped the seed spitters achieve their new records! But look for that story under another byline. Also under a different byline, a report on the return of the Choir. This year’s event, as in the recent past was a combined effort, with the CE Board coordinating the games, while Growth and Fellowship provided the food and set up the tables, etc. On the game side of things, we had a couple of new additions thanks to Elisabeth Bellows: a Treasure Hunt, and Crown & Tiara Making. One crown was made specifically to be the grand prize for winning the Spitting Contest (thanks, Jake). Other games included a return of Corn Hole, and Face The Cookie! Khalil Haddir was surely the master of getting the Oreo from forehead to mouth (without using hands). Other participants included Jeremy Ridenour, William Barrett, Jake Damrow, and myself. Thanks to all who helped make the day a success, especially if you volunteered to schlep tables and chairs, or cleaned up after. Some parts of the story are best told by quotes from others: Food was delicious… The whole event came together well . I had a strong feeling of community there and everyone was friendly and having fun. I thought the games were excellent for all ages. -Vicky Cooper It was a joy to see adults from the congregation interacting with the children. Tom and I had the chance to play corn hole with Amos and then another member from the congregation stepped in and they played a game as well. -Kim Ruffing The treasure hunt was a big success. I think all of the children at the picnic completed the treasure hunt, often with an adult in tow. The two youngest girls ran up to me after they finished and shouted “That was too short! Next year make it last until 7 o’clock!” And one of our youth members commented wryly, “It seems that the adults are having more trouble solving the clues!” We also had a great time making crowns and tiaras from paper plates, leading to kids play-acting characters with each other while making their crowns. -Elisabeth Bellows Watermelon seeds were flying on Rally Day and we were on the edge of our Tyvek in suspense. With over 15 contestants, the crown (made by Jake) eventually went to Adam Brown with a spit of 27’9 7/8” distance after a spit-off with his wife, Hannah. This power couple spat 23’7”” and 23’7 ¼ “ in the preliminaries. Hannah then spat 25’1” in the finals (shattering Nick Pohl’s 2019, 25’, record) before sharing her tongue-curling technique with Adam. Was that a mistake? Or does that give her the prize for Miss Congeniality? In any case, Adam, with Hannah’s technique, then sent a seed flying over 6 feet farther than he had before. We’re calling it a win-win for Hannah and Adam. Jon Geldert came in second with a distance of 20’ 11 ½ inches. Ted Randolph, at 20’ ¾” was disqualified by the judge because of his semi-pro status, leaving Cathy Clark and Elizabeth Evans tied for third at 19’5”. In the “just wait until I’m taller” division, Khalil, Jake, and Amos are all looking good and will be serious future contenders. In the seedling division, Avianna and Gwendolyn spat a combined 13’ even. Lastly in the “When you spit watermelon seeds, do not let your left cheek know what your right cheek is doing” division, Pastor Brent’s distance will remain a secret.