SYRACUSE -- Organizers of the 5th Annual Bill Leaf Memorial Kickball Tournament announced some significant developments today. First up, they're now accepting team registrations online. Second, they've altered some of the old rules, in hopes of making it easier for both teams and individual players to participate.
The tournament raises money for a scholarship fund named in memory of Bill Leaf, a Syracuse native, SU grad and WSYR news reporter (and WTVH-TV sports anchor) who was killed when his car was hit head-on by a wrong-way drunk driver in 2006. In the past few years, proceeds have also benefitted a scholarship in memory of Samantha Reynolds, a local teen who was also killed by a wrong-way drunk-driver as she and her family were driving to Disney World for vacation in 2008.
This year's tournament will be held on Saturday, September 25. The location, as always, will be Onondaga Lake Park. The idea for a kickball tournament was spurred by a story Leaf produced for WSYR about the organized adult kickball leagues at the park.
In the past, the tournament followed the same "team composition" rules as the Onondaga Lake Park kickball leagues, a policy which may have prevented more teams from joining in the past. Originally, each team required a minimum of 8 members, and at least four had to be female. According to Bill Leaf's brother Maria, the tournament is relaxing that requirement this year: teams can now join with a minimum of two females. (For example, had this rule been in place last year, Team CNYRadio.com could have participated -- we had enough people in total, but less than four women.)
Maria Leaf also tells us that the tournament will accept individual players -- so if you want to play, but just can't seem to convince enough of your friends or co-workers to join in, you can still sign up. Organizers will be happy to group individual players together into a separate team and/or pair them up with existing teams who volunteer (or need) to take on extra players.
The tournament is being organized by the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Central New York. Their website now has a form where team captains can register their teams for the September 25th event. The registration is $32 per player, which is $2 higher than the past, but Maria Leaf tells CNYRadio.com that extra $2 goes to PayPal for processing. The remaining $30 (last year's fee) still goes directly to the tournament. The registration fee covers breakfast, lunch, live music and t-shirts (each team gets a different color). All registrations must be submitted online or postmarked by September 1.