That competitive spirit was on display again on Monday night at the 6th Annual In the Pocket with Charlie Batch, when players gave their all for a good cause.
Players went head-to-head with guests in games like pool and ping pong to benefit the Best of the Batch Foundation, and you could tell by the intensity losing was not an option.
“It’s always fun,” said Batch. “That is how it started, because I saw how competitive everyone in the locker room was. We wanted to raise money in a fun way and do something different than what was out there. I saw my teammates compete in everything, even throwing a rolled up ball of tape into a garbage can. It turned out because everyone is so competitive and it’s fun.”
The event has continued to grow since its inception, and Batch’s plan is to have it continue to expand.
“It’s always exciting because the fans believe in what we are doing and help the cause,” said Batch. “We want to make it better. When we started you didn’t know what was going to happen. We moved it up after the first year. Now the demand is still there. It’s a blessing because people believe in what we are doing.”
Proceeds from the event help run the Foundation’s Reading and Computer Literacy Program and allows them to house the Steel Valley Alternative School Program. In addition to the hundreds that have used the computer lab, there are currently 11 kids in the alternative school program, sent to the foundation because of behavioral problems in main stream schools or through court order.
“If it wasn’t for this they wouldn’t have a place to go,” said Latasha Wilson-Batch, the foundation’s executive director. “They wouldn’t get the education they need. It’s important for us to do this event because the kids want to do things better, but they need help.”
Some refer to the alternative school program as the “Charlie Batch School,” and parents have inquired about getting their kids in the program. For Batch that is a compliment because it shows they are doing something right, but his hope is that all the kids are able to attend their own schools and not have to resort to alternative schooling.
“We have them going to school, but it’s not cool to be in this school because you got kicked out of school and are in an alternative program,” said Batch. “They are angry because now they can’t play sports and have to focus on school with no ball. You have to encourage them why they are going to school – to graduate. That is a tough sell because they feel there is no reason to go to school.
“We always try to turn the negative into a positive and try to get them back to main school. That is something we make sure we let them know.”