This afternoon The Dallas Morning News posted a short piece to its Web site about three 11-year-old boys who raised more than $1,000 so they could buy tickets to last night's Mavs-Heat game at the American Airline Center. To you, this might seem like a cute little novelty story, which it certainly is; there's no deep meaning here, no higher cause save for teaching three kids the significance of a dollar, give or take a thousand, and what you gotta do to make a buck in this world, which is a most estimable lesson at any age. But there's a reason I mention the story here: I know the boys--Chris Mavor, Sam Murchison and Andrew Hamilton--and have for years, as they live in my neighborhood and are on the swim team I coach. Happens to be the same team I swam for as a kid; and, fact is, I went to Thomas Jefferson High School with Chris' folks, Jackie and Greg, all of which suggests I grew up not in a large urban area at all but a small country town. Or a John Updike novel.
But that is beside the point. Sam, Chris and Andrew's attempts to raise their thou--what they figured it would cost for four tickets, for them and one of their driving dads, when they looked 'em up on the Web last week--became a cause cel�bre around the neighorhood last week; it didn't hurt that their picture ran in The News on Thursday, in a story about their drive for dough. At Thursday's swim meet, it was a subject of much discussion--though nobody thought they had much of a shot, since even if they did hit their target, likely all the tickets would be long gone. If nothing else, Sam's mother said Friday evening, they would use what they had raised and host a neighborhood pizza party for Game 2. But that was before Saturday's garage sale, where they sold $821 worth of items, some of which had been donated by folks in the neighborhood wanting to clean out their closets and make three boys happy at the same time. Between that scratch, and money raised from mowing lawns and begging relatives, they had more than enough for four tickets and some merch--though Chris says Andrew used all his game-time money on food, "enough for six people." That would explain why Andrew still had smeared face paint on at 9:15 practice this morning; I believe the word is "logy."
Chris' mother, Jackie, says the kids found their tickets on eBay. They belonged to a guy in Richardson who had suffered a bad accident and couldn't use them: He was in a wheelchair, and a recent surgery left him unable to attend--especially since the tickets were in "the nosebleed section, row B," Chris says. The dads took the boys out to meet the guy, and Jackie says it was a great experience for all involved. "Greg said it was nice how interactive the kids were with him and what a smile he had on his face meeting with them," she says. As for the boys and the game, Chris says, of course, "it was awesome," but that raising the money was "hard." Something to do with getting up at 7 a.m. Saturday to set up for the garage sale. But it's only June 12, and already this'll be the boys' Best Summer Ever. "I knew we would win," Chris says, and I am not sure whether he's talking about Mavericks or three boys who raised a fortune in a week and blew it on a night they will never forget. --Robert Wilonsky