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By Megan Phelps
Wanda Willis has lived in Grottoes her whole life and enjoyed going to most of the RCBL games. Her daughter is on the board and asked Wanda to run the Cardinal’s Facebook page. Wanda ran the Harrisonburg Fire Department’s page when she was a prevention officer. Wanda runs everything, including taking her own pictures and writing her own stories on the Facebook page. She makes sure to get permission from the sources of her articles to ensure that everyone is okay with the information that is about to be made public. Wanda posts pictures after every game and only uses a Cannon 60 HS. Her only complaint is that it does not do well in the dark and she must use flash if she wants to capture any of the players at night. Of course, she does this at convenient times, so she does not distract the players.
In the off season, Wanda wanted to keep interest in the Cardinals, thus Coach Cardinal was born. Coach Cardinal is a stuffed cardinal that she strategically places in hilarious situations around the ball parks. She remembers the first picture she posted was Coach Cardinal stuck in a tree with a police officer trying to get him down. Last year Coach Coffer took a picture with the cardinal, scolding him for putting, “Go Cardinals!” flyers in the Clover Hill dugouts. Her plan worked; people started messaging asking what shenanigans the cardinal would be getting into that day. She disclosed that fans will be seeing more of him this season as well.
Wanda was inspired from a similar prop they used over at the Harrisonburg Fire Department. They bought Safety Sally and used it to demonstrate proper safety practices. Wanda worked as a prevention officer and often taught 3rd graders, 7th graders, and high school seniors with Sally to show real life situations. They worked closely with the police department to make this happen. They had Sally be pulled over for riding a bike without and helmet, and another time for driving without a seatbelt.
Wanda had another suggestion for this season as well. She wanted to bring in more people and thought that singing the National Anthem live would help numbers grow. People from the community had the opportunity to get up and perform the anthem this season. Every game they had managed to get a local personality to sing. Wanda said she has personally known some of the singers and other times she asked them to sing after meeting them at different events. “You always need to be thinking about these types of things,” Wanda said about the recruiting process. One gentleman brought about 20 people with him to the game just to watch him sing the National Anthem. It was a huge success and she believes they will be keeping this tradition alive as well.
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