Kickball event puts spotlight on testicular cancer

Sunday, December 9, 2012

There are things men like to talk about. Football games, hunting and fast cars are oftentimes subjects for discussion. Then there are things a lot of men would prefer not to discuss, testicular cancer among them.

But there are men in the area who want to kick the disease where it hurts.

Jason Butler, director of marketing at Bootheel Harley Davidson in Scott City, has organized the first ever "Kickin' in the Balls for a Cause" 2012 Kickball Winter Classic to raise money for testicular cancer research.

"It's a kickball tournament," Butler said. "Teams are in the process of being organized, and it will be played in the field next to the dealership. It's going to be exciting to see men and women playing a game they haven't played in years for a good cause."

Butler said the tournament will start 9 a.m. Saturday.

Teams will consist of seven to 10 players, with trophies given for first and second place. Teams can be all-male, all-female or mixed, just so long as every player is older than 18.

Butler said a Harley Davidson dealership isn't a likely place to find a kickball tournament to raise money for testicular cancer research, but the issue is something personal with him.

"I have a friend who was diagnosed with it," he said, "but fortunately he survived the disease. It was in October when I started to think of ways to raise awareness because it's something guys don't talk about. Nobody likes to talk about cancer, but testicular cancer, because of where it strikes, just isn't brought up."

According to a fact sheet from the American Cancer Society, an estimated 8,500 cases of testicular will have been diagnosed by the end of 2012, and about 360 men will have died. But while it's one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in males ages 20 to 39, testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates. Overall, cases are cured more than 90 percent of the time, almost 100 percent if the cancer has not metastasized. Even for the relatively few cases in which malignant cancer has spread widely, chemotherapy offers a cure rate of at least 80 percent.

"I talked with my friend about putting on an event," Butler said, "and he said make sure it was something fun and different. That's when kickball came to mind. I want to stress the tournament will not be a doom-and-gloom event. It's going to be a fun time, and it's a good way for the dealership to give back to the community."

That the kickball tournament is being held in December is also something Butler took into consideration.

"We're hockey fans here," he said, "and the National Hockey League is on strike. There'll be no Winter Classic, which is played outdoors usually on New Year's Day, and I thought a great way to fill the gap would be for us to have our own Winter Classic when it's cold outside. But I couldn't tell you how players will dress. We're expecting anything from being bundled up to shorts and a T-shirt."

Rob Hocking, the owner of Bootheel Harley Davidson, wholeheartedly endorsed the kickball tournament.

"It's not like breast cancer that has a whole month devoted to it," Hocking said. "We're talking about something a lot of guys don't talk about or even have checked. It's one of those 'it'll go away' things, and for men that's the wrong attitude. It can happen to anybody."

Hocking added that he, like a lot of men, is late to the testicular-cancer game.

"I haven't been checked, but I'm planning to do it soon," he said. "My wife will likely force me do it as a result of the tournament."

The kickball tournament is co-sponsored by Hotshots Sports Bar and Grill in Cape Girardeau. Mike Hess, an owner of Hotshots, said the tournament will be a fun and creative way to raise awareness.

"We want to help give exposure to the event," Hess said, "and hopefully we'll have a good turn-out. We've had several people coming in to get the forms needed to enter a team."

Hess said Hotshots will be providing food and beverages during the day of the tournament, which will include beer, soft drinks and some items from their menu.

The proceeds raised from the tournament's $10 dollar per-person entry fee will be donated to the American Cancer Society of Cape Girardeau.

"Bootheel Harley Davidson is a continued supporter of the American Cancer Society," said Kelli Schenimann, community manager of development for the American Cancer Society of Cape Girardeau. "We truly appreciate their support, and that of Hotshots, in the fight against cancer."

Those interested in forming a team for the 2012 Kickball Winter Classic can contact Bootheel Harley Davidson at 334-7716 or Hotshots Bar and Grill at 335-9449.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address: 2100 E. Outer Road, Scott City, Mo.

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