Monday, February 11, 2013
Just For Fun Champs
On Sunday, February 10, a record number of more than 300 players and 52 teams took to the court to help swish-out childhood cancer at the 19th Annual Swish-Out and Junior Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge, held at USM in Gorham. Coordinated by Maine's credit unions, this year's Tournament raised a record-setting $28,525 for the Maine Children's Cancer Program.
This brings the total amount raised in the event's 19-year history to nearly $260,000. The Tournament is the longest continuous-running, 3-on-3, co-ed benefit basketball tournament in Maine. This year featured a sold-out field of 40 adult teams and a field of 12 middle school teams, six teams more than last year's previous high.
Throughout the day, a total of more than 400 people either played or watched the Tournament. At day's end, three new champions were crowned: Elite Division - The Franchise of Cumberland; Just For Fun Recreation Division - The Burgundy Team of Portland; and Junior Division - The Saco Celtics. Most teams were sponsored and organized by local businesses and/or schools.
In addition to the double elimination tournaments, the event included a silent auction where attendees bid on donated items such as an autographed Boston Celtics basketball, Red Sox tickets, Celtics tickets, gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses and much more. This year's major sponsors included: Maine's Credit Unions, Five County Credit Union, Hannaford Supermarkets, Martin's Point Healthcare, CU Promise, Kemp Goldberg Partners, Wright Express, Kohls, Time Warner Cable, The University of Southern Maine, Texas Instruments and WPOR (101.9) Radio.
In 1994, with seven teams, Jon Paradise, the Maine Credit Union League's Governmental & Public Affairs Manager, founded the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge and raised just over $500.00. "The spirit and generosity of the community, through sponsorships, teams, volunteers and spectators, continues to amaze me every year. The fact that so many people showed up, despite a record-setting snowstorm ending less than 24 hours before, underscores the willingness of people to help others. To set a new record again is tremendous and would not be possible without that support," Paradise remarked.