Kick Ball. The sport of champions. Played across playgrounds and baseball fields nationwide, this December it’s your chance to get out your tube socks, gather up your friends and bring your ‘A’ game for the first annual Community Kick Ball Challenge Charity Tournament.
On December 12 Avalon Park will be transformed into the kick ball capital of East Orlando as 30 teams from around the community come together to play in an elimination-style charity kick ball tournament to benefit the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. Kick ball teams will be made up of businesses and local residents alike who have joined forces to enjoy a little healthy competition and help raise money for state-of-the-art medical research taking place in Lake Nona. Each year, the the Burnham Institute for Medical Research creates “Team Burnham” which consists of dozens of community members who come together to train for, raise money and compete in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon & Marathon in January. The funds raised by Team Burnham members will directly support disease research at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, I can tell you that much,” says Jennifer Thompson, president of Insight Marketing Group and co-creator of the Community Kick Ball Challenge. Thompson created the event with the help of her marathon running partners, Mandy Taylor and Bea Kochheiser, as one of several fundraisers they are organizing to benefit Team Burnham.
Last year, Thompson and Taylor joined forces and trained together for six full months, running more than 500 miles throughout the communities of East Orlando in preparation for their 26.2 mile marathon debut with Team Burnham. “Training for, and competing in, the marathon forever changed my perception of what I was capable of achieving,” says Thompson. She describes the duo’s journey as one of self discovery, humility and physical transformation. But most importantly, she says, were the lessons they learned in mental toughness. “Running tests your will to succeed like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. When it comes down to it, it’s just you and determination.”
Taylor agrees: “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I’ll never forget the things it taught me about myself and what I’m capable of.”
All of the funds raised by Team Burnham’s activities, like the Community Kick Ball Challenge, are donated back to the Burnham Institute locally. Burnham is one of the anchors of the emerging life-sciences cluster dubbed “Medical City” located in Lake Nona. Collectively, the region is projected to have an economic impact in the neighborhood of $6.4 billion and generate nearly 26,000 jobs throughout the course of the next 10 years, according to a recent study.
“The Kick Ball Challenge is a fun, unique opportunity to help raise funds on our way to completing the half and the full marathons in one weekend as part of Team Burnham,” says Thompson.
So far, interest in the Community Kick Ball Challenge has been high. “Response has been encouraging,” says Kochheiser, the third, and newest, member of the running trio. “We filled a lot of the team slots in the first days of registration and sponsors were quick to jump on board so we’re looking forward to a full, fun day.”
Thompson agrees: “I think a lot of people understand the value of what we’re doing with the kick ball tournament,” she says. “More than being just a rewarding way to spend a Saturday, it’s a way to set and accomplish a goal for yourself and your team. It’s an opportunity to come together as a community and share an experience to remember.”
For those interested in forming a team, there are still several slots left for the Community Kick Ball Challenge. Teams may consist of up to 10 players and must have a minimum of seven players. At least 20 percent of each team must be female. Interested teams may register through December 11, however registration will close once the 30 team slots are filled.
To find out more information or to register, click this link right now.
Article by Corey Gehrold