Passion: noun; (pas·sion \ˈpa-shən)
• a : ardent affection
• b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
Looking for a dose of Sun Devil passion? You can find it on Friday’s throughout the year, in the early afternoon at Karsten Golf Course’s Trophy Room Restaurant. That’s where the Valley Athletic Booster Club, formerly the Scottsdale Quarterback Club, holds their bi-monthly luncheons that cover everything from future wrestling matches and gymnastics meets to a preview of the coming Saturday’s football game.
A self-contained microcosm of maroon and gold fandom, the VABC includes longtime supporters and newly adopted followers, Baby Boomers to Gen Y. Two, three, four decades of commitment to improving the lives of countless student-athletes and the programs they represent.
“The biggest thing I can say is this group is passionate about ASU, not just football, but all athletics,” current VABC President and longtime member Roger Blank says.
The VABC takes a multi-pronged approach to supporting Sun Devil Athletics through gift giving, ticket purchases, table registrations and attending events, promoting the Sun Devils around the community, and inviting all coaches to come and speak to the group about their respective groups.
In addition to supporting Sun Devil Athletics in a multitude of different ways, the VABC aspires to continue to help the department by driving Sun Devil letterwinner outreach and engagement, and be on the front line growing the newest crop of Sun Devil supporters and advocates.
“We want to support [Vice President for University Athletics] Ray Anderson’s goal of advancing affinity for ASU in the community,” Roger says. “He talked about this goal the first time he spoke to us, and it resonated with our group’s mission and everything we are trying to do.”
The group also embodies one of the most significant, but not often talked about, aspects of philanthropy: its ability to build a community of like-minded individuals working toward a common goal. Roger points to kinship's he’s developed through his years of involvement with the VABC as some of the most rewarding benefits of being involved with the group.
“The allegiance has always been there for ASU, but the alliances we’ve created through trying to grow this club have been fantastic,” Roger says.
These bonds are not only lifelong, but they stretch across generations. The father-son duo of Peter Reiss and Peter Reiss II, 1971 and 1998 graduates of ASU, respectively, are both members of the group and Roger used to be a referee for Peter II’s football games at the Boys & Girls Club when he was playing peewee football. Now after forty years of Peter’s service to the group, Peter II is following his father’s example as a member of the VABC board.
As the clock ticks toward noon, VABC members begin trickling in. The passion, etched on their faces and spelled out on their apparel, emanates across the room. A bond, forged by memories of great wins and unforgettable student-athletes, coaches and administrators, fills the empty spaces. This is the spirit of Sun Devil Athletics and it resides here.