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Meadows Turkey Bowl brings in $533,000; pickup soccer sport smashes donation file (pictures)

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HINCKLEY, Ohio – It was a simple name to see whose identify would grace the again of the gamers’ jerseys on the Meadows Turkey Bowl this yr.

Each participant – greater than 40 on six groups – competed with “Gianna Rae” on their backs. Gianna Rae was Pete and Anita Meadows’ child who died this yr late in being pregnant. And primarily based on the energy of grassroots fundraising, a fantastic day and the reminiscence and legacy of Gianna Rae, the Meadows Turkey Bowl raised a file $533,000 for St. Vincent de Paul Society and Mary Grace Memorial Basis whereas focusing on most cancers analysis. Cash is earmarked for particular work executed via the Division of Neurological Surgical procedure on the College of California-San Francisco.

This yr’s quantity takes the cumulative complete to $3,715,800. The sport has been a fundraiser solely since 2005. It’s the second consecutive yr the sport has topped half one million {dollars}.

“It is a fairly distinctive yr,” mentioned Pete Meadows, whose father Mike helped discovered the pickup soccer sport in 1990 in his Medina again yard. “Whenever you see my daughter’s identify, the massive factor is it is emotional, however I would like my daughter’s identify to dwell on. Lots of instances, when you may have a stillborn, it is talked about, however there is no such thing as a legacy. We constructed a legacy with my daughter’s identify. It is actually particular.”

Pete Meadows has been via his private challenges; he survived after being recognized with oligodendroglioma, a kind of mind most cancers, in 2020. His daughter’s legacy lives past the sport: The Gianna Rae Fund for Oligodendroglioma raises cash to struggle again.

“You have a look at everybody’s jersey; it is my daughter’s identify, ”mentioned Pete, who all the time is extra about delight for his daughter than pity for his personal analysis of him greater than two years in the past.

It took a flurry of last-minute donations for the sport to prime the donation file set in 2021.

“We had been in all probability about $100,000 off going into the final three days,” Mike Meadows mentioned. “I informed my boys (Matt, Michael and Pete), ‘I do not assume we’ll hit it.’ Then , out of the blue, an nameless donor gave $15,000. Then one other Turkey Bowler – Al Melchiorre – gave $25,000. Then final evening one other nameless donor referred to as and mentioned, ‘I’ve acquired a test for $14,000.’ Then I assumed, ‘Possibly we have now a preventing likelihood.’ “

Mike Meadows added: “It is surreal to assume the place we have come from – $800 (raised in 2005) to now $533,000.”

It is arduous to grasp the evolution of the sport, which began greater than 30 years in the past and rapidly grew into a vacation ritual that calls for virtually year-round planning.

The household has the small print down for followers, together with organising a basket of hand heaters close to an indication touting the Turkey Bowl and it mission: “At all times give again.” About 80 banners line the lengthy brick wall of 1st Day College Provides, Meadows’ firm, the place the sport is performed now. Greater than a dozen Highland Excessive College band members carried out for the 100-plus followers lined alongside the water-bottle strewn sidelines. Bonfires burned, canines sniffed, and Danimal Clown entertained children by twisting balloons. Northeast Ohio radio veteran Kenny Roda referred to as the video games by bullhorn, providing play-by-play and occasional quips as gamers scrambled on four-second rushes.

Nothing has stopped the sport – not Covid, not climate. Thursday, Mom Nature was form, with temperatures above freezing at the beginning and pushing 50 levels by the point the championship sport was performed within the late morning.

“It is a picture-perfect day,” Mike Meadows mentioned. “The problem was conserving it going. We went from a yard soccer sport to this.”

Groups competed in round-robin type of play carrying NFL staff colours – mild blue (Chargers), darkish blue (Cowboys), purple (Vikings), inexperienced (Packers), pink (Chiefs) and tan (49ers). For the primary time, particular person numbers had been used along with the tribute identify on the backs of jerseys.

That is becoming, for the reason that sport is each a staff and particular person sport. Whereas groups compete on the sphere on Thanksgiving morning, people hustle off of it all year long to garner donations from household, buddies, purchasers and associates. A lot of the gamers – who should pony up at the very least $2,000 in donations – are round ages 28 to 32, Mike Meadows mentioned. Solely a quartet of veterans stay: Mike Meadows and his brother Invoice – two of the unique 4 from 1990 – Brian Coughlin and Al Melchiorre.

2022 awards

Mr Hustle: Michael Kostandaras.

Hardest man: Brian Coughlin, enjoying in his remaining Turkey Bowl.

MVPs: Sean O’Neil and Darren Cereshko.

For the file, Group Melchiorre – the Chargers – defeated the Vikings within the thirty third annual Meadows Turkey Bowl that noticed Pete Meadows main his staff at quarterback on a day that honors his daughter, Gianna Rae.

“I do know she is right here with us at the moment,” he mentioned.

Associated protection

Meadows Turkey Bowl 2022 approaches soccer sport with impressed fundraising

Preventing again: Most cancers survivor’s inspiring story brings Turkey Bowl’s mission near dwelling

By-the-year donations

Whole Raised: $3,715,800.

2022: $533,000

2021: $511,000

2020: $416,000

2019: $390,000

2018: $318,000

2017: $263,000

2016: $245,000

2015: $230,000

2014: $190,000

2013: $158,000

2012: $126,000

2011: $125,000

2010: $90,000

2009: $70,000

2008: $26,000

2007: $16,000

2006: $8,000

2005: $800

1990-2004: Not a fundraiser.

Sport protection: Right here is our Thanksgiving-Day protection of the sport over time – tales, pictures and a few movies: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

To donate: The Meadows Turkey Bowl’s web site has a donation web page.

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