By Jay Young
In 2013, Frewsburg resident Ben Lindquist was looking for a way to raise awareness for testicular cancer and came up with an idea.
Rich Bianco takes a cut during the “1 Ball’’ WIFFLE Ball Tournament for Testicular Cancer in 2013 at the Frewsburg Town Park.
P-J file photo by Scott Kindberg
A survivor of the disease, Lindquist wanted to create a community event that would both raise funds for the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation and help inform the public about the issue.
What he created was the "1 Ball" WIFFLE Ball Tournament For Testicular Cancer, a charity event for local adults to come together and address one of the most widespread and preventable types of cancer.
"This is the second year for the '1 Ball' tournament,'' Lindquist said. ''We held the tournament last year in Frewsburg. It was very successful. We raised over $4,000 in the first year with 16 teams that participated.
"You know I really had no idea how it was going to turn out. My goal was to get 24 teams to play because that was our maximum. I had a clue that we might be able to raise three, four, or five thousand dollars, but the support that I got from friends and area businesses was tremendous, and we are seeing that again this year.''
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In addition to raising funding for the TCAF, Lindquist's primary goal was to help break down the social stigma that surrounds testicular cancer.
Despite the fact that the disease can be cured in early stages, men are often wary of talking to their doctors about any symptoms of the cancer.
"Testicular cancer has a cure rate of over 95 percent when caught and treated on time,'' Lindquist said. 'It is the leading cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35 and every hour a male is diagnosed with testicular cancer. Early detection is the key. The reason why people die is because they are scared to talk about it because it is uncomfortable.''
Following last year's tournament, it seems as though Lindquist made the right choice with creating the "1 Ball.''
"The best part about it is the buzz that it has created in the community about testicular cancer, because it is an issue that people don't want to talk about," he said.
The success of the first tournament has spurred plenty interest for this year. So much so, in fact, that Lindquist has created a separate family friendly "1 Ball" for all ages in addition to the regular 21-and-older event.
"We had a lot of interest from college and high school kids, and even younger, which is why we created another tournament," said Lindquist.
This year's standard "1 Ball" will be held on June 21 at the Willis Hale Town Park in Frewsburg, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and first pitch scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
Registration will be $75 per six-person team and each team will be guaranteed three games which will be four innings each. There is a 24-team maximum with two different divisions for more competitive and more relaxed styles of play.
There will also be a home run derby as well as prizes for the best uniform/team name.
The Family Friendly "1 Ball" is scheduled for June 28, and registration will be the same as for the standard tournament, beginning at 8:30 a.m. before first pitch. The family friendly event is open to players of all ages and will also be split between the "competitive" and "we're-here-to-have-fun" divisions.
Anyone interested in the tournaments may call Lindquist at 499-8427, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.1ball4tc.com, or visit the event's Facebook page at 1 Ball WIFFLE Ball Tournament for Testicular Cancer.
Information about TCAF may be found at www.tcafinfo.org.
In addition to the proceeds donated for testicular cancer awareness the "1 Ball" will be coordinating with a local charity that has yet to be determined.
Any local businesses that are interested in sponsoring the events may do so via a $1,000 tournament sponsorship, a $500 championship field sponsorship, a $250 field sponsorship, or a $50-$100 T-shirt sponsorship.