The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) has been around since 1945 and has over 8,200 members from colleges, high schools, and youth sports leagues across the United States. Each year, over 5,000 baseball coaches travel to the annual ABCA conference to attend coaching clinics, division meetings, awards ceremonies, and the annual trade show – this is where Vs. Cancer comes in.
Though Vs. Cancer has been a vendor at the ABCA tradeshow for a few years now, no member of the current Vs. Cancer team has had the opportunity to attend in the past. Here is what each of your Vs. Cancer team members took away from the 2018 Indianapolis ABCA convention.
Rachel, Associate Campaign Director – Vs. Cancer:
5,000 coaches. FIVE THOUSAND COACHES! That’s 5,000 opportunities to tell our story, 5,000 opportunities to partner, 5,000 people who may want to help cure kids’ cancer! How do I talk to 5,000 people in just three days??
ABCA was a whirlwind. A VERY cold whirlwind, with temperatures in Indianapolis averaging around 5 degrees for the few days we were there. After landing in Indy and settling in for our first evening in the hotel, the magnitude of the conference started to set in.
Because many of our teams are located across the country, we don’t often get to interact with our supporters face-to-face. ABCA gives us that opportunity. The Vs. Cancer team had spent the final few weeks leading up to the trade show emailing our current partner teams and asking them to stop by our booth to say hello and thank them for all their support. “Thank you” goes a long way, and we want to make sure all our teams know how important they are to our mission. The opportunity to interact with our coaches is probably the best part of attending ABCA, and the most valuable.
And then there are the new coaches, the ones we haven’t worked with in the past. The coaches who just walk up to our booth and ask “how can I help?” You guys… You guys are the best. Vs. Cancer left ABCA with a list of over 40 coaches who want to help, help kids who are battling cancer, help support their local children’s hospital, and help support research to fight the deadliest form of childhood cancer, pediatric brain tumors.
The Vs. Cancer team left ABCA excited…and exhausted. Being a vendor at a tradeshow is hard work! Standing for three days straight, grabbing food at the most convenient place possible (none of which ever seems to be good for you), and lugging our belongings from airport to hotel, to tradeshow, back to hotel, and so on and so forth. Three days of that will wear anyone out. But, it was all worth it. Thank you to every coach and fellow vendor who stopped by our booth, thank you to ABCA for being so accommodating, thank you to our Uber drivers who were all so kind and who each received a 5-star review from us, thank you to the city of Indianapolis for hosting us, and a BIG THANK YOU to the person who designed Indy and placed those warm skywalks in between buildings so we didn’t have to venture out into the frigid temperatures to grab dinner each night.
Brett, Campaign Manager – Vs. Cancer:
It’s been a week now since my first full coaches conference with Vs. Cancer, and the experience only reaffirmed that our mission is one that everybody can get behind. We set up our booth in the middle of a huge convention center among many other great vendors. There was a vendor for any item a coach or baseball player could possibly need. The tradeshow was massive.
When the doors opened, we were concerned that the traffic at our booth was a little slow. After all, there were so many different vendor booths to visit! It didn’t take long for that to change. I was shocked at the amount of coaches who took the time out of their day to stop by and learn about our mission. My eyes were opened even more to the fact that almost everybody has been effected by this disease, and the ABCA convention in Indianapolis showed me just how badly everyone wants to take part in the fight against cancer.
Shea, Campaign Manager – Vs. Cancer
As we headed to ABCA 2018 in Indianapolis, our largest trade show of the year, I always the wonder how many coaches will come by and check out our vendor booth wanting to know what Vs. Cancer is all about. As we set up our booth and got ready for a day full of “selling” our mission-I realized we don’t always have to. Many Coaches we meet have their own personal connections with pediatric cancer. Others have sons and daughters that they cannot imagine having to go through such a fight. Listening to their inspiration as to why they want to use their platform to help kids reminds me that every day we can make a difference.
I left Indy with excitement knowing that more athletes have joined our #vscancer team, our mission was shared with hundreds of coaches, and that I get to continue to fight for the kids.