This year, we will play wiffle ball in a 3-on-3 tournament instead of our traditional softball. The tournament will take place on the soccer field at the park on Fairview Rd. and run from 10am to 1pm. The entry fee is $20 per player. All money raised will go to the Against Malaria Foundation. No equipment required. Teams must have at least one player over 40.
Please register your team in advance by letting me know.
A few hours after the games, the event moves to Dunwellz, a local restaurant and bar, for food, drinks, games, and music. We have a corn hole tournament, foosball, and live music. Dunwellz also donates a percentage of our receipts to AMF.
100% of your contribution goes to buy treated mosquito nets in poor parts of Africa to prevent Malaria.
As far back as I can remember, I've loved baseball. I loved collecting baseball cards, memorizing the stats of my favorite players, and tuning in to watch my favorite teams on television. Like a lot of boys, I had dreams of becoming a professional ball player. At age five, I began my "career" with t-ball and made my way up the ranks until I found myself running around a softball field with my fellow soldiers while serving in the U.S Army. I came alive when I was up to bat - running the bases, making plays in the field, or sliding in the dirt attempting to steal a bag. Beginning in high school, every year for my birthday I would hold a softball game. For a couple years it was only a bunch of teenagers playing, but that didn't last long. After high school everyone's lives took them in different directions, with me leaving for the Army, and the annual game was pushed aside.
In March, 2003 my days on the field were cut short when I was paralyzed in a car accident at age nineteen. While my glove and cleats were stored away, my love of the game was steadfast and, before long, I decided it was time to get the annual game up and running again. I might not be able to play ball myself but I could certainly enjoy watching others and take on the role of organizer and pseudo umpire. On my 29th birthday, my friends (by the organization of my new sister-in-law) surprised me with the biggest turnout ever. Young and old, male and female; it seemed like everyone I knew stood in the parking lot of the Mint Hill Park and cheered as I pulled in - the delighted dupe in a familial conspiracy. I looked around at all those faces and the well-known truth was confirmed that baseball (or softball) brings people together for a few hours of fun and good clean competition. It was after that game that I realized how we could use this platform to do something good... something good for those in need. And so the Jason Bonsall Annual Charity Softball Game was born. I have continued to hold a game every year but instead of explicitly celebrating my birthday, I now carefully select a local charity and ask my friends and family to come out and "Pay to Play."
Playing ball for charity. What could be better? Everyone who participates donates $25. Whether on the field, in the bleachers, or simply coming back to the after-party, all attendees now make a small, tax-deductible donation and have a lot fun doing it.
Now, with the help of my mom and sisters, we reach out to local businesses for assistance and make sure that every penny we collect goes to the charity we hand-picked. In 2013 and '14, our charity was A Child's Place - a local non-profit that assists homeless children in our area to continue with their education. Since 2015 we have worked with Autism Services of Mecklenburg County - another non-profit that offers support and group-housing for those suffering from autism or traumatic brain injuries. Each year we have raised close to $4,000 for our charity. I personally match each $25 donation and I would like to find a few companies to make that same commitment. It is our hope to expand our efforts and make this event bigger and better. It is our goal to raise more money and have more community involvement. With more and more people showing interest in participating each year we are certain we are on the right path. We are looking to have more corporate sponsorship, more teams in the dugouts, and more spectators cheering them on. I hope to continue organizing these games and taking my place behind home plate with a bullhorn attached to my wheelchair, callin' 'em like I see 'em. I hope my passion for America's pastime will continue to bring people together for many years to come as we take the field in our continued effort to help those in need.
My dad taking a mighty blow