Anaya raising money for football trip
When Ruben Anaya got it in the mail, he figured it was a scam.
After he and his coach did some research, the running back from Harvest Prep is raising money like mad to get a trip to Australia.
In October, Anaya got an invitation from International Sports Specialists, Inc., to play in the Down Under Bowl in Australia in July. He would be representing Arizona in a pair of football games.
“I was thinking, this is fake,” Anaya said. “I thought it was one of those ads people send.”
However, Down Under Sports has been around since 1988 and seemed legitimate enough to give it a shot.
“I thought if it was real, it would be a good opportunity to get noticed and if it's fake, it was a waste of my time, but it was worth a shot.”
Anaya rushed for 889 yards and 11 touchdowns in the 2012 season for Harvest Prep, which finished 5-4. The game itself may be a little different than Anaya is used to — it's 11-man football instead of the 8-man that Harvest Prep plays.
“I'll be studying formations with my coach because he knows what kind of formations they'll have,” Anaya said.
The big issue at this point for Anaya, though, has been the money. He needed more than $4,000 to get to his goal and he's tried a little bit of everything — selling tacos, having a car wash, selling T-shirt. According to him and his mother, Raquel, he's a little more than halfway to his goal.
“It started kind of slow because we didn't know how to raise it,” Anaya said about fundraising. “Money is the main worry I have, but I'm already half way there.”
One way he is hoping to chip away at the remaining amount will be at a take over at Z Fun Factory on Jan. 26. Five-percent of the profits from the entertainment center's food sales from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will go to Anaya and his trip.
Anybody interested in making a donation can reach Anaya at email@example.com.
For somebody like Anaya, who admits the furthest he's ever traveled is up to Flagstaff, it hopes to be a trip of a lifetime.
“It's just such a good opporunity,” he said. “It's a once in a lifetime kind of thing.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson.