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The Event: For our friends who left us too soon


I had a conversation recently about what it meant to leave behind a legacy. Of course, there is the literal definition, meaning the actual items we leave behind when we pass, like our homes, cars and personal possessions. But then there is something far greater. Something that lives longer than we do, composed of kindness and generosity that truly makes an impact on the people you know. Maybe it was how you treated them or made them feel? Maybe it was donating time or money to give back to the community in some way? Inspiring others just by being you.

Everyone leaves behind a legacy, but sadly that also means that they have left us. When this happens, we hold on to memories and share stories of the past. This is exactly what happened when a small group of locals decided to get together and reminisce about the times they shared with two close friends that had passed too soon, Ryan Michelbrink and Dave Fernandez.

These friends decided to never forget them, and instead celebrate them. Both Ryan and Dave were active in local sports and the community, so the group of friends decided to host an event, where all ages would enjoy a fun day of sports. All proceeds raised would be donated to the Southeast Volusia Youth Sports organization in honor of Ryan and Dave and all the friends they have lost too soon. The idea was born and “The Event” hosted their first challenge in 2018.

This event usually held in April from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex on the multipurpose field. However, please check back for any updates!

women standing under tent the event

HOW IT WORKS The one-day competition is open to everyone, no matter your age. Each ticket to compete in the games is $30 and includes an event T-shirt and a raffle ticket, offering every competitor the chance to win some pretty awesome prizes. If you want to come watch someone else compete, or to just show your support, there is no charge. You are able to make a donation of any denomination if you would like.

The games are fun and basic, I should know, I played last year and had a complete blast. You have three chances to make a point in each game. Each game station will have someone who tells you how to play and to mark your scorecard. Each game takes about 10 minutes, max, to complete. Once you have completed all the games you simply turn in your scorecard.

kid throwing a baseball

THE GAMES Basketball: You have 3 chances to make each. • Free Throw • 3-Pointer

Soccer: You have 3 chances to make each, avoiding trash cans that are set up as the “goalie.” • Corner Penalty Box Kick • Penalty Kick

Football: You have 3 chances to make each.

• Throw a football 20 yards - trying to make it in a trash can

• Kick a Field Goal - 16 yards away

Baseball: You have 3 chances to make each.

• Hit a baseball off a tee - it has to land inside a certain zone

• Throw a baseball and hit a trash can - distance is from a professional league mound to home plate

friends on a golf cart

THE AFTER PARTY All winners will be announced at the after party, which usually begins at 2 p.m. on the back porch of Lost Lagoon Wings and Grill, located at 2004 N. Dixie Freeway in New Smyrna Beach. My first year attending The Event was last year and even though I was a newbie, the camaraderie and overall feeling of genuine friendship amongst the group was inspiring.

They give away awards and prizes, and honestly I think they made up a couple on-the- spot, which kept everyone laughing and having a wonderful time. It is one of the most laid back and enjoyable events I have been to, and let me tell you from personal experience, this after party just might be the highlight of your day! I knew that I did well, but had no idea I was going to place 2nd in the women’s category! I literally couldn’t believe it and I have been bragging about it ever since. Rightfully so!

I am very much looking forward to this year’s event and have been practicing throwing footballs in garbage cans for months now! Do you think you can beat me? Prove it! I’ll see you on game day.

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