By Jill Fox
No fowl play here – Thanksgiving and football came together rather nicely on Thursday morning at Pine Trails Park for the 2020 Turkey Bowl.
Cassidy’s Cranberries, Litman’s Leftovers, Safra’s Stuffing, and Golden’s Gobblers were at it again for the voluntary flag football game in its fourth year of existence – and this year, they made it big.
After the game, organized by four Parkland fathers with sons the same ages, another dad’s Twitter post was picked up by ESPN.
Litman’s son, Tyler, 11, woke up on Friday morning to his phone “blowing up” with messages from his friends saying he was featured on Sports Center’s Top Plays.
After gaining national attention, the Westglades Middle School sixth-grader felt like Michael Jordan for the day but said he didn’t want to brag. Tyler was just happy to be with his friends for a good cause.
The cause he was referring to was Challenger Baseball, a free baseball program serving children with special needs, for which they raised over $1500.
“We are teaching these kids the importance of giving back,” said Golden, who explained that they choose a different charity to donate to each year.
The dads agreed 2018 was the most special because they took their children to purchase and deliver gifts to kids at the SOS Children’s Village. Unfortunately, this year, with Covid restrictions, that type of scenario wasn’t possible.
Parents, who were social distancing and wearing masks, donated money on the day of the event, which included 44 Parkland players. To date, their tradition has raised over $11,000 for charity.
“For us, we hope the exposure of this video encourages people in other communities to have similar events to raise money for small local nonprofits,” said Golden. “Non-profits can’t hold events right now because of Covid, and we have 10 and 11-year-olds raising thousands of dollars.”
For the second time this year, girls’ teams got involved with a turkey bowl of their own, raising money for #LivelikeEmma, a foundation created in honor of Emma Sorensen, a Coral Springs teen who lost her battle with cancer last year.
“The community, the kids, the families — it’s my favorite day,” said Cassidy, who looks forward to the turkey bowl all year.
Golden added, “Every kid’s dream is to be on SportsCenter, but to do it from a charity event makes it that much sweeter.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.
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