For the love of wiffle! Come be a part of the tournament

Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voicesI am often asked what are some of the most pressing youth issues in Greenwich, and then how one begins to tackle and prioritize them.

Well, I never thought in a million years that playing wiffle ball would be one of them. But then, seven years ago, a group of young people built a wiffle field in Greenwich. They used it as a place to get together, have fun and play. In a day and age where free time and play is becoming hard to come by, I found it refreshing to see kids enjoying an all-American past time.

Regrettably, the wiffle field was on a drainage lot and it had to be taken down by the town because of fears someone could get hurt. This was a great heartache to many community members. But, from the loss of that original field, the Junior United Way’s annual wiffle ball tournament emerged, filled with children, police, business owners, parents and many community members all rallying around a cause really important to the young people.

We all consider the wiffle tournament, now in its seventh year, to be an enormous success. For me it has been a wonderful experience because we are able to work towards building a permanent field for the town. But, more importantly, we’ve been able to built relationships. It has also been a treat seeing some of the young people grow up and come back year after year for the fun of being together.

The Greenwich Wiffle Ball Tournament has taken on a life of its own with a Facebook page, a website, and even a temporary practice field this year. We are going into our seventh year, with this year’s tournament being held on July 20 at the Greenwich Polo Grounds.

The JuniorUnited Way of Greenwich, the Greenwich Police Department, Golden Tickets Events and Belpointe Capital have made this event into the community day of fun for all ages it has become. They have attracted the dedication of numerous volunteers who have given so freely thousands of hours towards raising funds by soliciting monetary and in-kind contributions, securing teams, handling the mounds of paperwork associated with the event and setting up days prior.

They have worked 14 hours on the day of the event to sign in teams, assemble the food and drink, break down and clean up at the conclusion of the event. In addition to the volunteers, all the various companies for financial and in-kind donations specifically for this charity such as the Greenwich Polo Club, Garden Catering, Cablevision and Pepsi. It has truly shown me that if there is a will there is way.

What I have come to love most about wiffle ball over the years is that it truly is a sport for all ages and levels. It costs very little to play and almost everyone can enjoy it. Even I have been known to take a swing or two and, although I won’t be winning any home run derbies in the future, I am having a blast with the kids.

It’s so important that we take the time to care about what was important to young people and help them part of the solution. Please join us all this year, in any way you can give, advocate or volunteer, and help us get one step closer to our “field of dreams.”

More information may be found at greenwichwiffle.com.

 

Jenny Byxbee is the youth services coordinator for the United Way of Greenwich. She may be reached at 203-869-2221 or [email protected]

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