Joel Smith – 2019 Rauhman Browning Award Recipient
Rauhman Browning was one of the founding members of DIVA. For those who knew him he was a dedicated friend and had vast integrity with enough wit to charm the entire room. Rauhman passed away in 1993 a mere 3 years into the infancy of DIVA. Rauhman was one of the originators of the Miss DIVA show. He never wanted it to be know as a pageant or contest, but as a way for DIVA the organization to become not only a well respected volleyball league but an organization that cared about our community. So by forming Miss DIVA it was his way to make DIVA a philanthropic organization, and used Miss DIVA as the channel to do just that. He was the true “Spirit of DIVA“
Upon his passing the DIVA Board of Directors renamed what was known as the DIVA Hall of Fame to be forever know as the Rauhman Browning Award. This award is given as the highest award to a member of DIVA for their Outstanding Service, Dedication, Spirit and Sportsmanship to DIVA. It is presented annually at DIVA’s Spring Awards Banquet and is given to a non board member who exemplifies the qualities listed above.
Joel Smith is this years Rauhman Browning Award Recipient. Joel joined DIVA in the Spring of 2001 after being recruited on the street corner in Oaklawn outside of Hunky’s. He was hooked from the moment he stepped on the court. He served 3 years as Division Rep and 6 years as the Vice President of Membership. As VP Of Membership, Joel continued the tradition of recruiting on the street and got the DIVA name out there. Joel has continued to be active, even while not serving on the board. During his free time he organizes “Open Play” at the City Gyms and is an active member of “Courts of Kaos”. This year marks Joel’s 19th year in DIVA. He as been a captain for most of that time and has a collection of medals that anyone would be envy of.
When asked about what he liked best about DIVA, he said “I like being with such a diverse group”.
On behalf of the 2108-2019 Board of Directors, we thank you for your dedication to DIVA.
Please make sure when you see Joel around to thank him for all that he has done for the league.
HAYDEN MITCHELL (DECEMBER 11, 1959 – AUGUST 29, 2018)
Hayden Mitchell was a major part of Miss DIVA every year; from the planning, to the producing of the video, to the crown, to the sash. He always wanted everything to be flawless. However, the 2019 Miss DIVA contest was missing that one special person that always made sure Miss DIVA was a success. He loved a good pageant. If there was a pageant on TV, you can guarantee Hayden was watching, judging and picking the winner.
He would have been so proud of former Miss DIVA’s; 1998 Lencha Marie, 2006 Anita Protest and 2016 Lay’d Tataz for not missing a detail at this years Miss DIVA Contest. Hayden made it all look so easy year after year. As those former Miss DIVAs can attest, it is not an easy task and they wanted to show their appreciation to Hayden by creating the “Hayden Mitchell ‘Legendary’ Miss DIVA Award“. The first ever award was awarded to Donny Perry (aka Miss Geri Tol) and Paul Williams (aka Miss Nelda Pickens) for their Friendship, Inspiration, Sportsmanship, and Honor to DIVA.
Hayden – You will never be forgotten for your dedication to the sport of Volleyball and the DIVA organization.
Hayden Mitchell Remembered Video
Ophelia Oliver – Miss DIVA 2019
Last night at the Rose Room, Miss DIVA returned with a vengeance as six contestants battled it out for the Crown and the right to call themselves Miss DIVA 2019. It was a true Queen of Thrones Battle that did not disappoint. TV ratings might have been higher for the Season Premiere of “Game of Thrones”, but you would not have known it by the energy and cheers from the grateful followers in the room! From the moment the doors opened, until the doors closed, it was an amazing event that raised over $4,000 for the Dallas Resource Center Food Pantry.
It took five highly-qualified judges and a LOT of money to crown this year’s Miss DIVA (Scoring: 30% Gown, 30% Talent, 40% Fundraising). In the end, Ophelia Oliver ran away with the Miss Money Bags Award, having raised over $1,800 alone! She also took the Va Selena Award for Best Talent by singing Lady Gaga’s “I’ll Never Love Again” from “A Star Is Born”. The talents of Ophelia did not stop there – oh no, they did not! Her gown was hand-sewn and beaded. Some say the lights from the stage caused temporary blindness and even a few seizures! Between you and me, rumor has it Neiman Marcus will be including it in their 2019 Christmas Catalog. Don’t forget you heard it here first!
Of course, this wasn’t just the Ophelia show! Tasha Romaine did not make it easy for her to walk about with the crown, and she brought it as well. Tasha was right on the heels of Ophelia every step of the way. Her talent was flawless and she and her dance squad didn’t miss a beat. Her evening gown could be seen from miles away. If you don’t have sequins, did you even gown? Tasha took home the title of Miss Congeniality (aka She-Gotta-Mustache Award). While she came up short at the end of the night, Tasha raised over $1,200 for the Food Pantry and took home 1st Runner-Up. Tasha will take over if Ophelia is not able to fulfill her duties as Miss DIVA 2019. Word on the street is Ophelia is looking to hire a few good men to keep her safe, and do some light housework along with other duties as assigned.
While the night brought numerous surprises, the screaming fans had no clue that a close relative to the cow from Chick-fil-A would be performing. Chokanay Cox got her milk and brought all the boys to the yard by performing to a classic “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” Moos could be heard from around the world as they watched her battle for the crown. In the end, Chokanay took 2nd Runner-Up. We’re not sure the Chick-fil-A cows would approve, but no cares were given.
Let us not forget the remaining contestants that took to the stage to showcase their talents. Shasta LaCroix took home 3rd Runner-Up, Heaven Furbid took home 4th Runner-Up and Cajeta rounded out the lineup taking 5th Runner-Up.
Other awards for the night were:
- Hayden Mitchell Memorial Award – Donnie Perry
- Hayden Mitchell Memorial Award – Miss Nelda Pickens
- Director’s Award – Lencha Marie
Special Thanks to Miss Nelda Pickens and our Judges – without your time and dedication, this event would not have been possible.
- Miss Nelda Pickens – MC and Lifetime Member of DIVA
- Jacob Gillett – USVA Ref and dedicated friend of DIVA
- Shannon Brown – aka Shanana Splits – Miss DIVA 2000
- Scott Berhorn – aka Sharon Secrets – Miss DIVA 2004
- Matt De La Rosa – President of the Dallas Long Star Basketball Association
- Jonathan Avalos – aka Miss Envy Chanteuse – Miss Dallas Gay Kickball 2019
SUMMER INDOOR IS HERE AGAIN!
Don’t be left out in the sun. If you are new to DIVA and have never played Summer Indoor, it is a great way to improve your skills. It is a mixed divisional league that plays a 6 week season and an EOS Tournament. The cost to play is $60 and you are drafted on to a team. An attempt is made to equalize the skill levels of each team to make the season fair and fun for all.
If you have friends that are not currently members of DIVA and you think they would be interested in playing, have them sign up for our New Member Clinic scheduled for May 29, 2019 at Polk Recreation Center.
The Indoor Summer League will be held at Texas Assault at 12750 Perimeter Dr. Dallas, Texas 75228 on Wednesdays with a Saturday tournament.
Reserve your spot! https://divadallas.org
Registration Begins April 5th and ends May 29, 2019.
Dates for Summer – Wednesday Nights:
DIVA’s Spring Season Celebrates 30 years of Volleyball
Spring 2019 kicked of DIVA’s 30th year of volleyball this season. It also forced DIVA to look at expansion options because they have currently outgrown their home at Advantage Sports Complex in Carrollton, Texas. With the help of numerous individuals, creative math and scheduling had to be used to figure out how to get 471 players on 74 teams on 12 courts every Friday Night. It was decided to start games at 7pm on Fridays and play until 12:15 am Saturday. By increasing start and ends times on Friday Nights DIVA was able to keep its 1 Night – 1 location still in play. Other options were possible but the Board didn’t want to break up the league by using multiple locations. So far everyone has lived to tell about it!
- Recreational Division – 5 teams with 31 players
- Intermediate Division – 12 teams with 74 players
- Competitive Division – 15 teams with 105 players
- Skilled Division – 15 teams with 91 players
- Advanced Division – 12 teams with 72 players
- Power Division – 7 teams with 44 players
- Elite Division – 8 teams with 54 players
If you have friends that might be interested in playing, some divisions still have open spots. For more information information please check out divadallas.org.
DIVA’s 2019 Crazy Clover Tournament is another Huge Success
Lots of GREEN could be seen this year at the 2019 Crazy Clover Tournament. This year’s OPEN TOURNAMENT again had a waitlist for players wanting to play. Overall there were 108 players spread out over 18 teams battling for the POT OF GOLD. Waiting on News which group of Leprechauns took home the POT OF GOLD but it was reported that a good time was had by all.
A Special Thanks to Richard Flores and Brian Borski for planning and organizing this year’s tournament. Photo Credits: Abel Cruz.