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Kick-It for Kevin raises money for cancer

| Monday, September 5, 2016

Senior Ethan Holland walked out the back door of Sorin College on Saturday morning in pursuit of a single goal: a victory in the dorm’s annual Kick-It For Kevin kickball tournament.

The off-campus senior team poses after winning Kick-It for Kevin, the annual charity kickball tournament hosted by Sorin College. Eighteen student teams competed Saturday in the tournament in its seventh year.Photo courtesy of Joe Pinto

The off-campus senior team poses after winning Kick-It for Kevin, the annual charity kickball tournament hosted by Sorin College. Eighteen student teams competed Saturday in the tournament in its seventh year.

Holland, a resident assistant in Sorin, was part of the Hall Staff team, competing against 18 other teams for bragging rights and the coveted kickball champion title. He and his team advanced to the quarterfinals, where they faced off against a team of Sorin juniors.

After five extra innings, the Hall Staff team lost a heartbreaker by a single run.

“The one missing piece from my resume is a Kick-It for Kevin title,” Holland, who is set to graduate this spring, said.

This year marked the seventh annual charity kickball tournament, the dorm’s signature event started to honor Kevin Healey, a former resident and member of the class of 2011 who died from brain cancer in 2009.

Each year, Sorin partners with Kick-It, a national organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. The Ohio-based nonprofit helps sponsor charity kickball tournaments across the country.

“Kick-It for Kevin is one of the pillars of what makes Sorin great,” Holland said. “It’s great because we’re raising money for a great cause, but we’re also having a great time with everyone in the dorm.”

Sophomore Joe Pinto, the Kick-It for Kevin commissioner, said this year’s event raised about $7,000, a new record.

“It’s the perfect fundraiser,” he said. “Because you need to do something that’s fun and will be able to get people out, but also something that all people can and want to play.”

This year, Pinto said he tried to make the tournament — which moved back to its former location on Bond Quad — a campus-wide event. It had a number of local corporate sponsors that donated gift cards and food, including Einstein Bros, Meijer, BarBici, Five Guys and Chipotle.

Kick-It merchandise was offered as fundraising incentives, Pinto added. Some of the seniors have collected quite a lot of gear over the year.

For Pinto, the event is a way to honor a special member of the Sorin community.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to see a dorm that has so much history and so much tradition remember one person like this,” he said. “I think this is our way of giving back to him and giving back to his memory.”

In a dorm that has housed students since 1888, not many students can boast a legacy that rivals Healey’s.

“When you hear stories about Kevin and hear people that did know him talk about him, he just really stood for a lot of great qualities that we want in Sorin and in Notre Dame,” Holland said.

Healey didn’t let his illness get the best of him, Holland said. Instead, he tried to make the most of the time he had at Notre Dame.

“It’s always great to take a few hours to go out and play kickball and have some burgers and hot dogs,” he said. “It’s about enjoying our time here as college students all together.”

Fr. Bob Loughery said this is his seventh year as the rector of Sorin College; he’s never seen a year at Notre Dame without a kickball tournament.

Loughery also played on the Hall Staff team. Though he didn’t get the victory he wanted, he said the overall event was a big success.

“I think the guys show, year after year, when they come together to do something, it gets done,” he said. “It’s always a highlight.”

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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