PARKLAND, FL- Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with many traditions. From time-honored food traditions to Thanksgiving Day parades and watching the National Dog Show, Americans of every background gather to give thanks for their blessings in a variety of ways. For many people, Thanksgiving Day means one thing: football.
Three years ago, four Parkland dads with two sons each began a football tradition on Thanksgiving Day that combines the sport they love and the act of giving. Evan Golden, Nick Cassidy, Mike Safra, and Brian Litman gathered with their sons to play football in the first annual Parkland Turkey Bowl. The aim of the Parkland Turkey Bowl was not only to get together to play a friendly game of football on Thanksgiving, but was also an effort to support local charity by raising funds for the game.
The 2019 Turkey Bowl showed growth in every measurement.
"This year we had 42 kids play in the Turkey Bowl made up of four teams (Golden Gobblers, Cassidy's Cranberries, Safra's Stuffing, and Litman's Leftovers). We also had many parents and neighbors come and support the tradition," shared founding father Evan Golden. "The Mayor of Parkland came back again this year as the honorary captain and made a beautiful heart-touching speech about Parkland Buddy Sports and how to get involved and support. Coach Andy also came as a representative from Parkland Buddy Sports and shared the mission and philosophy of the non-profit. We are so proud to say that a morning football game with all our sons friends raised $2,500 for Parkland Buddy Sports."
The four founding families each organize a team to play in the Turkey Bowl. The first round winners meet in the final to become the Parkland Turkey Bowl Champions.
"It feels great to have so much fun doing what we love and at the same time being able to raise money for a great local charity, I was so happy to not only see how much money we raised but how many parents and kids signed up to be volunteers with Parkland Buddy Sports," said Brian Litman, coach of Litman's Leftovers and back-to-back winners of the Parkland Turkey Bowl.
"The Parkland Turkey Bowl is a wonderful event bringing families together on Thanksgiving morning. The children play flag football while also raising money for a worthy cause," shared Mayor Hunschofsky. "I was honored to support the event and draw the playoff (brackets). Evan Golden and his team of volunteers did a wonderful job organizing the event. This kind of event is what Parkland is all about; residents coming together as a community to spend time together while supporting a worthy cause that helps others."
The Turkey Bowl supports a different charity each year with its fundraising efforts. Last year, the event supported SOS Childrens' Villages. The group plans to continue the event as long as possible. Ideally, the fathers hope to participate in the event down the road as grandfathers. The idea is to continue the inspiration and the fun from generation to generation.
Mike Safra, father and coach of Safra's Stuffing, loves the Parkland Turkey Bowl. "This Turkey Bowl, along with the best kids and parents in the community, is something I look forward to all year long. After the final snap I'm already looking forward to next year and the memories we will create!"
"It takes a team effort from coordination, planning and working together as team to make it successful. It's an awesome feelings seeing our community come together, support a great cause. I am just so proud of our city and kids. " Nick Cassidy from Cassidy's Cranberries.