Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learnt the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything." – Muhammad Ali
IT STARTED WITH 12 FRIENDS...
Here's the story:
"Can (enter your friend's name here) come outside and play?" You ask this praying that your friend doesn't have homework or has at least lied about finishing it. If your childhood resembles mine at all, you probably asked that question over a thousand times in your life.
That's how the Wiffle Ball Bonanza started. The few weeks prior to Saturday, July 12th 2008, I must have invited 50+ friends and family members to join me for a Wiffle Ball tournament in my, at the time naive, neighbor's backyard. Letters were written and mailed out to people. A Facebook event, let a lone a website were not even a consideration, my goodness. Basically, I asked anyone I knew if they could come outside and play...
11 people showed up and yours truly made 12.
In comparison to today's version of the WBB, the inaugural year seems unsubstantial. However, the 12 friends that played that day laid the foundation for years to come. Four (4) teams of three (3) people each competed in a double elimination tournament, in which the members of Brownstown Express walked away as champions.
The following year 36 friends took the field to play America's greatest backyard game. From that point on, family vacations and weddings have been scheduled around the WBB. The tournament has turned into one of the biggest reasons to run home. Also, one thing the Bonanza has taught us about each other is that our friends have friends...
- 2008: 12 friends played outside
- 2009: 36 friends played outside
- 2010: 54 friends played outside
- 2011: 67 friends played outside
- 2012: 71 friends played outside
- 2013: 80 friends played outside
- 2014: 102 friends played outside
- 2015: 192 friends played outside
- 2016: 120 friends played outside (12 team limit)
To be entirely honest, the WBB only seems like an excuse for people to get together, eat great food, share some beverages, and enjoy a miniature version of the Pittsburgh Pirates' Forbes Field, which it is. But what you'll learn about this crew is that it's made-up of goodhearted people. There's a cast of characters unexplainable to those who haven't seen it. Although we play on separate teams throughout the day, we unite as one (1) to help those battling Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Since 2012, the Wiffle Ball Bonanza and its participants have raised nearly $40,000 to support those within the T1D community:
- 2012: $700 raised
- 2013: $3,600 raised
- 2014: $5,100 raised
- 2015: $15,167 raised
- 2016: $14,000 raised
Without the help of so many generous friends and family members, the WBB would simply remain an idea inside a young, Type 1 Diabetic's heart. So to everyone who has helped this event become what it is, I say thank you. I'm glad to call you my friend.
Now, go ask your mom if you can go outside and play!
WBB Founder & Director