Original Supporters Group San Diego River Clean Up
There’s a new group of do-gooders running around San Diego. Technically, the Original Supporters Group was formed in 2017 when the SoccerCity project launched. Initially, the prospective members paid a $20 deposit and received customized jerseys as well as first access to season tickets, exclusive invites and more. The SoccerCity team wanted to kick off a fan club, and at the time made assurances that the control of the club would be given over to the fans once the group was established.
That time has come. On May 11th, an email was sent to the OSG members identifying Daryl Biggs and Steve Brockhoff as the new point people for the now independently run OSG. Biggs and Brockhoff have wasted little time and on May 19th the Original Supporters Group’s first outing took place in San Diego with a coordinated effort to help clean out the San Diego River.
Members of OSG gathered and spent three hours from 9:00-12:00 clearing debris, collecting trash and generally having a grand ol' time.
In a Q&A with The San Diego Chronicle, OSG Member Karl Hurlbert detailed his experience:
“I first heard of the river clean up through OSG member Daryl. I think he posted about it on Monday and we were out there cleaning up on Saturday morning.
Previous experiences have always been satisfying in the ‘we got it done’ factor and that’s where I was at when my wife and I pulled into the parking lot Saturday morning. That mood quickly changed as we got out of the car.
The San Diego River holds a special place for me and my family. The first two years of our marriage we lived on Rancho Mission Rd often walking along the river walk; a place we visited almost daily during the last trimester of her pregnancy with our first child. Getting out of the car all those memories came rushing back and those matched with the smiling faces of the other volunteers quickly made the mood move from task-oriented to a ‘there’s no other place I’d rather be than right here’ mood.
We filled out our waivers, grabbed gloves, trash bags, and trash pincher grabber things. Shortly after that we received deeper information on who the San Diego River Park Foundation is, what they do, and our task-at-hand. The task was straight forward, clean as much as much as we can. We headed down into the River basin with tools in hand for next 3 hours from 9am-12pm.
The group I met with was other members of the Original Supporters Group. We have gotten together for other community oriented goals i.e. Foody McFoody Face (Stay tuned for World Cup edition) however, none have been as physically intensive or entailed being so physically close to one another.
Heading into the river basin it became apparent there are no distinguishable trails to follow and the thickness of the foliage made direction a bit disorienting. But with jokes, laughter, and seclusion of the site an undeniable bond surrounded us. Piece by piece, minute by minute time flew by.
It’s easy to sit and have drinks with someone but to get together like this seems rarer and an experience I don’t think I could have prepared for. People tell you that having a child is something you’ll never understand until you have one, and that logic can be applied here as well. So, if you are looking to connect with your community and the people in it, I can’t recommend a river clean up enough.
As the day went on, picking up repeat items; spray paint cans, shampoo bottles, or broken pieces of Styrofoam; except one item, a soccer ball pattern ping-pong ball. While the item alone not that significant, it glared at me with an undeniable reminder of what brought this group together; soccer.
The dynamic of the group began as soccer centric but working together through the day it became obvious we have a lot more in common than a sport. Whether it was shared taste in music, favorite style of beer, or best spot for a burrito we all had the tightest common goal of all, giving back and helping our city.
Towards the end of our volunteer time while deep in the river basin we found wood ladder and that ladder served as the final piece of glue that bonded the group together. Daryl and I picked up the water logged dense heavy lumber, zigged and zagged trying to find our way out. Circling back on our own paths took probably double the time it would have taken had we found a straight path out, but the mood of the group was at its lightest despite the physical load being the heaviest.
Tired, sweaty, and sore I wouldn’t change anything, cheers to everyone that was there with us that day and anyone else that I’ll work with in the future. San Diego is my home and a city I truly love and want to leave better than when I arrived for my children and every other San Diegan."