Kick-starting a cancer-kicking tradition

June 26, 2008|By AUTUMN PAPAJOHN

Invented in 1942 at the end of World War II, kickball has become a tradition that is now melding co-ed adults with good causes and good times.

On June 28, the Frederick Adult Co-ed Kickball Association (FACKA) will hold its third annual all-star kickball game against the Kickball League of Baltimore. The game will be at Baker Park followed by live music, food and beer at the Carroll Creek Amphitheater. The event is named the JoAnn Garrett All Star Classic after a cancer research assistant at Fort Detrick in Frederick County, Md., who recently died of cancer.

Three bands - Social Ghost, Great-Lakes and Lightning Rod - will perform at the party to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society. An auction will be held, which includes an autographed baseball from Cal Ripken Jr. and tickets to an Orioles vs. Yankees game.

The kickball association is a nonprofit organization made of 14 teams and based in Frederick, Md. They have participated in charity events for Make-A-Wish Foundation, Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness and Toys for Tots to name a few. Members range in age from 20-somethings to 50-somethings, from stockbrokers to students.


FACKA president Jason Mecler and a few friends started the organization in 2006.

"I never thought this organization would manifest into its current size," Mecler said. "It's just a bunch of adults playing a kids' sport. We're all kids at heart so we might as well put our energy to good use and do something positive for the community."In 2006, the first year the association hosted a charity event, it raised $3,000. Last year, the FACKA fundraiser raised $13,000. Mecler said he hopes this year's fundraiser will bring in $20,000. Bud Lite is one of the group's biggest sponsors through Wantz distributors; 40 to 50 percent of fundraising profits come from beer sales at the event.

Mecler said he is planning to begin a kickball league in Washington County this fall and also hopes to start leagues in Charles Town, W.Va., and Gettysburg, Pa., as some players already travel from those areas.

If you go ...

WHAT: The JoAnn Garrett All Star Classic and after-party

WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28. The after-party will be from 2 to 10 p.m.

WHERE: Baker Park in Frederick, Md., at 121 N. Bentz St. for the All Star Classic and the Carroll Creek Amphitheatre for the after-party.

COST: The all-star game is free. Concert tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Children younger than 12 and accompanied by an adult are admitted free. Beer costs $3.


MORE: All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and FMH Cancer Patient Assistance Fund.

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