I go bowling maybe twice a year. That stretches to three times if I’m looking for a cheap way to take my wife out on a date. In other words, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a pro. I mean, I’ve had my fair share of strikes (I once started out a game with 5 in a row), but those are just fleeting moments here and there. What I can call myself is a competitive person. I’m not a fan of losing. I actually can’t wait to have kids so that I can destroy them in sports–teaching them the valuable lesson of not always being able to win, of course. To lose in a bowling competition seven years in a row was more frustrating than trying to get a cow to walk down steps (they won’t do it, by the way).
The Cleveland Indians and The Cleveland Browns have been competing in a charity event called “Bowl for Kid’s Sake” for the past eleven years. The event raises money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, while at the same time, allows both front offices to show off their bowling skills. For the past seven years, the Browns have beaten us. And for the past seven years, they have had bragging rights over us. That all stopped on May 2, 2013 when the Cleveland Indians put together the beast of all teams and beat the Browns by almost 7,000 pins to capture the championship! Helping us to that victory were Indians players Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Yan Gomes, Bryan Shaw and Indians wives, Meryl Masterson, Jenny Gomes, Kristen Shaw, Kathleen Reynolds, Amanda Kluber, Melanie Perez, and Meredith Chisenhall (Lonnie stayed home to watch the kids).
Now, of course, the real winners involved here are the kids. Over $10,000 was raised at the event to support Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. (www.bbbs.org/cleveland)
As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 9 through 18, in communities across the country (www.bbbs.org/cleveland).
I was able to catch up to one of the front office employees at the Indians, Matt Gay, who is actually a “Big” in his spare time. He was nice enough to take part in my new blog segment that I’m calling “The 3 Main Questions.”
1.) How long have you been a Big Brother?
I officially have been a “Big” here in Cleveland since December of 2012, a process that started in June of last year, as the Big Brothers Big Sisters program does a great job of making sure that each Big/Little match is the right fit. Some matches take a little bit longer than others to set up.
2.) What made you want to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters?
I had attended a Summer Day Camp growing up, and had the opportunity to work as a Counselor for several years at the same camp that I attended since the age of 9 in Connecticut. I worked there in different capacities from the age of 15-20, which really showed me the joys of working with children and being able to make an impact in their lives. While I attended Syracuse University I was a part of their Big Brothers Big Sisters program for three years (Sophomore-Senior). This was essentially a weekly after-school program at a local Middle School where I would go with fellow students and we would help our Littles with their homework, do arts and crafts and run around outside. I always say that I am still just a big kid so it makes it easier to just have fun and connect.
3.) You work for the Cleveland Indians. What does it mean to you knowing that they support Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Knowing that the Cleveland Indians support Big Brothers Big Sisters, just gives me another reason to take pride in sporting the Block C or Chief Wahoo, because I work for a company that continually gives back to the community and understands the importance of serving others.
Long story short, our bowling championship drought is finally over. All it took was a little hard work and patience. Throughout these seven years, I’ve fallen back on the same quote over and over to get me through the hard losses: “With patience and saliva, the ant will eventually eat the elephant.” I don’t know who said it, but it really is a powerful quote. I’m not saying that we are going to start winning every year, because that isn’t a safe bet. I am saying that we will continue to win with our off the field efforts and supporting great organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters. And that is all I really need (since I now have my victory over the Browns)!
Someone, somewhere once said that winning isn’t everything. Child, please. Winning isn’t everything? Really? What if George Washington had that mentality as he was moving his troops across the Delaware?
George: Guys, I know you are starving and freezing and probably catching a wicked bad cold, but just go out there and do your best. That’s all I can ask for because whether you win or lose, we’ve made some good friends along the way.
What if General William T. Sherman told his troops that right before they made their March to the Sea?
General Sherman: Okay men, this could be the turning point of the Civil War. We are going to burn everything in sight from Atlanta down to Savannah to shut the south down and end this thing. Don’t be afraid to give up or only give half the effort and not win because I’m sure the Confederate Army will just laugh this off in a week…maybe two weeks.
What if the 2011 Cleveland Indians thought like that before every game? We would definitely not have the record that we do, nor would we have so many 9th inning come back wins. My point is, winning is everything and you can’t go into a sport or an event like Bowl for Kids’ Sake bowling tournament thinking that it is okay to lose.
(Photo on left is courtesy of Dan Mendlik) Speaking of Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the Cleveland Indians front office just competed against the Cleveland Browns front office yesterday in the 9th Annual Sports Bowl benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters. After losing the past 4 years to the Cleveland Browns, this was going to be our year! Our entire front office wanted to win this so badly. We actually got into it more this year than we have in past years–and it helped that while we were bowling we had the Tribe game (versus Oakland) on for extra motivation. Even the Indians’ wives fielded a bowling team! Slider and Chomps bowled the ceremonial first bowl (which both ended up being gutter balls) and we were under way.
Fast forward two scored games and one fun game and the results were in. The Cleveland Indians (who fielded 12 teams of 5) had a combined pin count of 14, 123–a solid total and more than in past years. The Cleveland Browns (also having 12 teams of 5) had a pin count of 14, 470 and for the 5th year in a row, took the trophy from us.
I can’t say that I am happy about the loss. What I can say is that I am happy that both the Browns and the Indians raised over $10,000 to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a HUGE win for all three organizations. I can also say that I am happy knowing that one of our employees who competed is a crazy big Pittsburgh Steelers fan and for the Browns to beat a Steelers fan is always a good thing. Thank you to the employees of both front offices who participated to make this such a great event. Without you all, we wouldn’t have lost for the 5th year in a row.
You know how you and your friends used to always talk about how cool it would be to take the grass on your lawn and just roll it up and carry it from one end of the yard to the other? The Cleveland Indians front office had–hold on a second–as I’m typing this entry someone is now informing me that they never once thought that would be a cool thing to do. Regardless, the Cleveland Indians front office had the opportunity to do just that today.
As part of Global Youth Service Day, Indians employees partnered with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and made their way to the corner of East 9th and Lakeside to put in an urban garden and a brick walkway right next to the giant Free Stamp.
The 5 hours of volunteer work consisted of rolling up what seemed like a couple hundred rolls of sod and then moving them to pallets, planting apple trees, moving bricks so that they could be layed out into a walkway, raking dirt and top soil and everything else that goes along with putting in new landscape!
While there were about 24 volunteers at this particular project, there were over 1,400 volunteers all over Northeast Ohio participating on various other projects to celebrate Global Youth Service Day (GYSD).
Established in 1988, GYSD is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth. GYSD is celebrated each year in over 100 countries.
The weekend of volunteering caps off on Sunday, April 17 with all of the participants enjoying a day at the ballpark. All volunteers were invited (and provided tickets to) watch the Cleveland Indians take on the Baltimore Orioles for the 1:05pm game. They will take part in a pre-game parade around the warning track as well as be recognized on the field in front of the crowd.
So the next time you take your girlfriend or boyfriend on a date to the Free Stamp in Willard Park (do people do that?), or you’re walking back from a Cleveland Browns game–be sure to stop and enjoy the apple trees and the brick path and know that your Cleveland Indians had a hand in making the city look pretty.