A trip to Disney World, meeting a famous athlete or fulfilling a lifelong dream – these trips do not fund themselves. Oklahoma Christian University’s baseball and softball teams joined together to make more of these opportunities happen.
The teams hosted a charity Halloween soft-pitch game to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
“It’s something we can do to give back a little bit to a good cause,” Head Softball Coach Tom Heath said. “We try to do some other things as well, but I think it’s important our softball and baseball players see they need to do things for other people. It’s not just about them and their team, it’s about the community.”
Admission into the game was free, but donations for the foundation were accepted.
“It means a lot to me that we are getting to benefit Make-A-Wish and ultimately help a kid’s wish come true,” senior Chase Kuwitzky said. “It hits pretty close to home and I am so proud to get the opportunity to help out with it.”
Kuwitzky said he has worked with an organization similar to Make-A-Wish called Give Kids the World, who sent his sister on a trip to Disney World when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
“Although I was very young and my sister was the one actually battling cancer, I can tell you that these trips matter,” Kuwitzky said. “Their importance may not be able to be measured, but I truly do believe that in some cases trips such as this, or the ones that our money from the Halloween Game will go to benefit, can give families the extra necessary push to get through some of the darkest days they will encounter.”
Kuwitzky said he returned to Disney World when he was older and was able to see the work Give Kids the World did for his family.
“I got to see what they do through the eyes of an 18-year-old as opposed to a 4-year-old, and that was a very moving opportunity,” Kuwitzky said. “My sister, Chelsea, survived and is doing some incredible things. She is a teacher for Epic Charter Schools, a wife to my brother-in-law, Michael, and a mother to my niece, Ellie.”
In addition to contributing to a good cause, sophomore Kaylie Upton said the game gives the teams an opportunity to bond.
“I think it’s cool that softball and baseball are joining for the cause,” Upton said. “We don’t ever do anything together. With other sports like soccer, their boys and girls teams are close. Softball and baseball are different, but we’re also the same. It will be cool to get to know them better and for them to get to know us better.”
Kuwitzky said the game allows the athletes to take a break from practice to let loose and have fun.
“Our schedules can get to be pretty busy, so to get the opportunity to dress up and just have fun for a day is always a nice change of pace,” Kuwitzky said. “Sometimes ‘fun’ can be tough to come by on the field. I also love that we get the chance to do this with the softball team, as we do not get to catch many of each other’s games throughout the seasons because we are playing at the same times typically.”
Head Baseball Coach Lonny Cobble said the game was played differently than regular softball and baseball games, with the players batting their opposite hand and Cobble slow-pitching.
“We divide up the girls and the guys onto two teams, so it’s not guys against girls,” Cobble said. “No one takes a line drive so no one gets hurt, so it’s just a good time. Both teams have fun and we don’t really keep score.”
Cobble said his favorite part of the game was the costumes.
“It’s fun to see everyone get creative and see who comes up with what,” Cobble said. “We give away a prize for the most creative costume, and the teams get to get out and be a kid again when your trick-or-treat days are over.”