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Tourney on the Turf benefiting West Akron resident

7/31/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Proceeds from Tourney on the Turf will benefit West Akron resident Tori Motley.
Photo courtesy of Matt Weiss
AKRON — As they have done annually for the past seven years, a number of community members are gathering to play a little volleyball while also attempting to make a big difference in someone’s life.

On Aug. 3, Tourney on the Turf, a tournament played at Prentiss Park, 2009 East Ave., will mark its eighth year.

According to Matt Weiss, one of the tournament’s organizers, the goal of the event each year is to assist “a different child from the Greater Akron area who is facing some hurdles with their health.”

“In the past, the kids have been battling anything from cancer to Crohn’s disease. One year, it was for a Cuyahoga Falls boy that was paralyzed from a trampoline accident,” he said. “Regarding selecting a recipient, a lot of times we hear of someone just from our daily lives — some have been members of the volleyball community — and a couple of the years we have been approached by someone who knows someone that needs the help.”

This year, Weiss said, the tournament is dedicated to helping Tori Motley, of West Akron.

“Tori is 17 and battling lupus and stage five renal failure,” he said. “Tori is going through peritoneal dialysis treatments at home for nine hours a night. She is also taking numerous medications, such as food binders, lupus medications and vitamins. At this time, she is not on a transplant list.”

During the previous seven years, Weiss said, more than $20,000 has been raised through the Tourney on the Turf, and all of the revenue received from each event is used to assist the child selected that year.

“Every year, we start with $0 in our budget, and every dime we net goes to the family,” he stated. “Much of what we receive in the way of concessions and marketing materials is donated. We do have to pay for shirts, and that is normally our largest expense. We are all volunteers with ‘real jobs.’”

Weiss said the Tourney on the Turf is run by a group of individuals known as the Volley Project.

“We think it is worthwhile because we make it a lot of fun for a worthwhile family,” he said. “We don’t have any specific illness that we focus on; we just focus on trying to help a child and family in need. We really work hard at making this a worthwhile event for the kids and the families, especially, but also for the participants.”

A notable change for this year’s event, Weiss said, is the addition of a sponsor.

“We are very happy to announce that for the first time, we have an ‘Above the Net’ sponsor: Pinnacle Chiropractic in Cuyahoga Falls,” he said. “We hope this can turn into a long-running relationship with them. We think it is a good fit for us and them.”

Adding a sponsor is part of the natural growth of the Tourney on the Turf, which has “steadily grown in numbers” during its eight years, Weiss said.

“Last year, we had right around 200 participants,” he stated. “We would love to make that number grow.”

The cost to participate in the tournament is $20 per adult or $15 for high school students, and each participant will receive tournament merchandise.

“We have players of all skill levels — high school and up,” Weiss said.

The tournament’s division details are as follows:

  • Coed 4s (two girls and two guys): AA/A level of play;
  • Coed 4s (two girls and two guys): BB/B level of play;
  • Coed 6s (two girls minimum): B level of play; and
  • Coed 6s (two girls minimum): recreation level of play.

Weiss said the preference is for people to sign up for the tournament as part of a team that fits in one of those divisions.

“It is preferable that you sign up a team,” he said. “If we know of any teams that are in need of a player, or a group of individuals, we will try to match them up, but that is difficult to do with different skill levels, and we can’t guarantee that we can make it happen. We have had teams walk up the morning of the tournament, and we will get them in. It’s easier if they sign up earlier, but we will work it out.”

First serve for the tournament is scheduled for 10 a.m. The event also will include prizes, concessions and a slip-n-slide.

For additional information or to sign up to play in the tournament, go to www.volleyproject.com.

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