Dallas SparkTeam Holds First Rally

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Jerome Merlau

September 26, 2010 is a day that I had been looking forward to for several months. Back in July, the decision was made that The SparkDallas team needed to have a get together so we could meet our teammates in person, share stories and spend some time together. Picnic, everybody loves a picnic, so that’s what we decided to do. Random is the best way to describe how the date was selected for this event. That’s it I thought, this is going to happen. I didn’t care if there were two or 200 who showed up, we were going to attempt to bring a group together for a little meet and greet.

The first invitation went out to the entire SparkDallas team with a link to the RSVP forum thread. We needed to have some sort of idea about how many to expect. The responses started coming fairly quickly-- some couldn’t come, some were excited, some just wanted to raz me, imagine that! Over the next several weeks, reminders were sent out nearly every day with at least one huddle message mentioning the picnic. The team members made sure that every new member who joined the group was immediately invited to the picnic. The momentum started to pick up a little and so did the activity in the forums.

Having never been to Flag Pole Hill, I wasn’t sure what to expect, where to park, where to meet or anything else. I pulled into the park and literally there is a flag pole on the hill. Who knew? I drove up toward the flag pole and wouldn’t you know it, there were no picnic tables up by the pole. As I drove out of the lot toward the top of the hill, I saw a car stopped in the middle of the road, it was Donna, AKA Sparkle1908. She and I had previously met when we walked on the Katy Trails. We drove back down toward the hill and decided to take a look up by the pavilion and see what was up there. Everything here is first come first serve, so wouldn’t you know it, the pavilion was crawling with people, so this COULD be FUN!! Keep in mind that only a few of us had over met before; some of us didn’t even have pictures on our SparkPage, so recognition could have been a problem, too.

Finally, over the hill I saw Andrea AKA ANDREA0301 and started waving at her and the group of folks walking with her. As they got closer I could see Coach Nancy was in that group, several men and women I didn’t know. Nancy and I had met earlier this summer while running a race together. Next came Susie AKA SUSIEWHITE1109 and Mich AKA MICHCLEARY, and oh yeah, NOMADDAD, better known as Steve. Amy AKA AMYGOES211 was joined by her husband, Michael and before too long came Ryan Shelly AKA IUSECRAYONS and Susie AKA Glazed-Donut. Then came Lenore SEEMETHRU1, Cindy CSullivan83, Lynette AKA MARATHONMOMTO4, Leslie AKA LP2278, Lauren AKA MYLAUREN2 and her dog Maggie. Several of the members brought their spouses and their children. All in all there were 25 of us.

Lynette brought the COOLEST looking cake I think I’ve ever seen! THANKS to Lynette for the cake and for Shelly for making healthy birthday cookies.

Conversations were flying around so fast it was almost hard to keep up to be honest. Nancy and I chatted about my health and potential injuries. She noted that I had lost more weight since we met the first time. I remember a conversation with NOMADDAD about the fact that he has been a member of SparkPeople for 5 years and had not lost a pound. He and his wife had paid for boot camps and other programs and had not lost anything except their money. He came back to SparkPeople about 5 weeks ago, got involved with the SparkDallas team and has since lost 16 lbs. We discussed how important the forums were to our success. We talked about how the group atmosphere makes all the difference-- the encouragement, the inspiration in those forums will keep a person motivated to change his/her life. We agreed that this is critical to success, being involved with a team.

I overheard the runners in the group talking about upcoming race schedules, how we could all run together, who was running what races, etc. The SparkDallas team is really growing with our runners and that’s super exciting for a rookie runner like me.

There were even some tears shed as stories about our passions for health, our passion for running, our joy of seeing others succeed were shared among the group. What an awesome afternoon of making new friends and knowing that this group of people will be there to support each other, motivate each other, pick each other up if we fall, inspire each other, and most importantly, will be at the NEXT SparkDallas team function. The resounding words of the day were “we’ve got to do this again!” We will be doing things like this more often in Dallas and the goal would be to have more attend each event we schedule!


Jerome, AKA JMerlau joined SparkPeople in December 2009 and has lost 95 pounds to date. He is the married father of 2 girls and lives in the Dallas area.

“Over the years I got lazy and because of this my weight I shot up to 264lbs and had no desire to do anything about it. On December 28, 2009 I made a decision to take my life back. I decided that my wife deserved a better husband, my kids deserved a better father, and I deserved to be here for many more years. I started eating right, working out a lot, and I do those things every single day. I have more energy than I have in years, I think more clearly and I'm passionate about helping others achieve their weight loss goals.”

Do reading stories like this inspire you to call your own SparkPeople rally in your area? Will you be attending a SparkPeople rally or event this year?