We packed up from Houston and made the short drive east to our next destination. Since it was a short drive, that meant a much needed weekend off for the crew. We thought we were going to be in Beaumont, but as it turns out, we were actually staying 30 miles east in a little town called Orange. Orange is a very small place nestled on the Texas/Louisiana border, right off interstate 10. There is not a whole lot to do in Orange, but we made the best of it.
Our shows this week were mainly around the city of Orange, with one school in Beaumont. This week brings us to Bridge City, Orangefield, Little Cypress Mauriceville, Clifton J Ozen, and West Orange Stark High Schools. Our athlete roster this week, remains the same as last week. We have Gabe Weed (flatland BMX), Jimmy Walker (BMX), Zack Warden (BMX), Anthony Furlong (skateboard), and Eito Yasutoko (inline).
We started the week off in Bridge City at Bridge City High School. There's a lot of swamps and waterways in this area, so that makes for some pretty impressive scenery and some really cool bridges. This school is appropriately titled, because it is right next door to a pretty impressive bridge going over one of the local bayous. We had one assembly today on the back parking lot of their football field. They brought the entire campus out, and it was quite an event for the entire town. A few of the local sheriffs came out and watched the show, we even had a few reporters come out to the show.
Tuesday brought us to Orangefield High. Again it was a one assembly day, and they set us up right in this big field in front of the main campus. It was super windy that day, the Marines weren't even able to put up the tent at their booth, but the boys made it work on the ramp outside despite the wind, and we had another successful day.
Wednesday we were just up the road from the hotel at Little Cypress Mauriceville High. They had a massive parking lot in front of their campus, and we set up shop right there. They brought out the entire school for a big assembly show. It definitely wasn't windy like yesterday, and the boys stepped up their riding on the ramp. Eito even pulled off a 1080 for the students today.
Thursday we made the drive into Beaumont for a show at Clifton J Ozen High School. It was super windy today, probably some of the worst wind conditions of the entire tour. Should have been an easy decision to go inside, but apparently the gym at this high school is like a holy shrine. They have a former student who is now and NBA player, so that gym is treated like pure gold. You aren't even allowed to walk on it with hard soled shoes. That being said, we had a snowballs chance in you know what, of going inside. We had a little pow wow with the crew, and we made it work in the wind. It was an assembly show at the end of the school day, and once again despite the wind, the crew persevered.
Last show of the week was at West Orange Stark High School. They had a big assembly show in the morning, and we had the ramp set up in the main parking lot, nestled between the gym and the football stadium. It seemed like a quick show, and before we knew it we were packing up and preparing for our drive to Dallas. On the way out of town, we had a pretty cool moment that I felt compelled to write about. We stopped in a local sandwich shop for some lunch, before our drive north. Most of us were still wearing our ASA shirts. While I was in line getting my sandwich, a guy behind me in line tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "hey buddy, what is ASA Entertainment?". So I explained to him what we did, and he asked, "what in the world are you doing in these parts?". I explained the whole high school tour to him, and he was pretty impressed. He went on to introduce himself. His name was Glen Hayley, and he has lived in Orange TX his entire life, is retired military, and served during the Korean War. He said he picked up smoking in the service, and went on to explain to me how cheap he could get cigarettes back in his youth. He said he gave it up cold turkey and had not touched a single cigarette since April of 1963. His reason for quitting, he had a car he loved, and was driving down the road one day with the window rolled down. The wind blew the lit ash from the end of the cigarette into his car, and it landed on his crotch. It started his car seat on fire and burned a hole in the seat of the car, and in the seat of his pants. He said he loved that car, and almost wrecked it putting that fire out, and he quit that day and has never looked back. This was definitely the most humorous reason I have ever heard from someone, as to why they quit. We had a good laugh, and seeing as how it was Veterans Day, I thanked him for his service to this country, we shook hands, and he was on his way. About 20 minutes later as we were walking out the door, he showed back up at the sandwich shop. He went home and picked some fruit off his backyard tree, and gave it to us for the drive. It was a pretty nice gesture and made our week.
I'll wrap this up by saying a big thanks to the Marines who sponsor this tour, and to all of those who have served in the military whether past or present. Happy Veterans Day to all of you.