By Jill Fox on November 25, 2021
While most people were prepping their turkeys and setting the table, young Parkland athletes were up early on Thanksgiving morning playing flag football for a great cause.
Despite the occasional rain shower, 45 children made up the four teams for the fifth annual Parkland Turkey Bowl: Cassidy’s Cranberries, Litman’s Leftovers, Safra’s Stuffing, and Golden’s Gobblers.
The voluntary flag football game at Pine Trails Park, organized by four Parkland fathers, has become a highly anticipated event raising money for local causes. Past beneficiaries include SOS Children’s Village, Challenger Baseball, and Parkland Buddy Sports.
This year, they chose again to donate to Parkland Buddy Sports, with a lofty fundraising goal of $5,000.
“We didn’t reach our goal of $5,000,” said Turkey Bowl co-founder Brian Litman, “This year, we raised $6,000 for Parkland Buddy Sports.”
Mayor Rich Walker, also in attendance, said the Turkey Bowl brings the community together and shows how blessed we are.
“Buddy Sports is a fantastic organization that also brings the community together, so to see this is really special,” he said.
In true Parkland fashion, the event has special-made jerseys, food, drinks, music, and even and a masseuse for those on the sidelines.
Kick-off followed a performance of the National Anthem by Marjory Stoneman Douglas sophomore Angelina Kennedy, whose brother, Anthony, 10, played for the winning team.
“I love singing the National Anthem, and having them ask me back every year is just awesome,” said Kennedy.
A half-time show featured live music and a pie-eating contest, and the morning concluded with Cassidy’s Cranberries winning the coveted Turkey Bowl trophy, which will remain in the coach’s possession until 2022.
Coach Nick Cassidy, father to Christian, 14, and Jameson, 10, said they started 0 and 4, and to come out this year on the fifth anniversary and break records for Parkland Buddy Sports was unbelievable.
“It’s my favorite day of the year, and it’s one of my biggest accomplishments,” Cassidy said.
Parkland Buddy Sports President Bob Mayersohn said the funds would help the organization continue providing fee-free programming for children with special needs.
“We are humbled and grateful that they selected us again to be a beneficiary,” he said. “It truly shows how we as a community continue to thrive.”
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Tyler Litman from Litman’s Leftovers made SportsCenter top plays and NBC6 was on the scene for the exclusive to cover this unbelievable touch down catch to defeat the Golden Gobblers!
By Jill Fox
No fowl play here – Thanksgiving and football came together rather nicely on Thursday morning at Pine Trails Park for the 2020 Turkey Bowl.
Cassidy’s Cranberries, Litman’s Leftovers, Safra’s Stuffing, and Golden’s Gobblers were at it again for the voluntary flag football game in its fourth year of existence – and this year, they made it big.
After the game, organized by four Parkland fathers with sons the same ages, another dad’s Twitter postwas picked up by ESPN.
Litman’s son, Tyler, 11, woke up on Friday morning to his phone “blowing up” with messages from his friends saying he was featured on Sports Center’s Top Plays.
After gaining national attention, the Westglades Middle School sixth-grader felt like Michael Jordan for the day but said he didn’t want to brag. Tyler was just happy to be with his friends for a good cause.
The cause he was referring to was Challenger Baseball, a free baseball program serving children with special needs, for which they raised over $1500.
“We are teaching these kids the importance of giving back,” said Golden, who explained that they choose a different charity to donate to each year.
The dads agreed 2018 was the most special because they took their children to purchase and deliver gifts to kids at the SOS Children’s Village. Unfortunately, this year, with Covid restrictions, that type of scenario wasn’t possible.
Parents, who were social distancing and wearing masks, donated money on the day of the event, which included 44 Parkland players. To date, their tradition has raised over $11,000 for charity.
“For us, we hope the exposure of this video encourages people in other communities to have similar events to raise money for small local nonprofits,” said Golden. “Non-profits can’t hold events right now because of Covid, and we have 10 and 11-year-olds raising thousands of dollars.”
For the second time this year, girls’ teams got involved with a turkey bowl of their own, raising money for #LivelikeEmma, a foundation created in honor of Emma Sorensen, a Coral Springs teen who lost her battle with cancer last year.
“The community, the kids, the families — it’s my favorite day,” said Cassidy, who looks forward to the turkey bowl all year.
Golden added, “Every kid’s dream is to be on SportsCenter, but to do it from a charity event makes it that much sweeter.”
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PARKLAND, FL- Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with many traditions. From time-honored food traditions to Thanksgiving Day parades and watching the National Dog Show, Americans of every background gather to give thanks for their blessings in a variety of ways. For many people, Thanksgiving Day means one thing: football.
Three years ago, four Parkland dads with two sons each began a football tradition on Thanksgiving Day that combines the sport they love and the act of giving. Evan Golden, Nick Cassidy, Mike Safra, and Brian Litman gathered with their sons to play football in the first annual Parkland Turkey Bowl. The aim of the Parkland Turkey Bowl was not only to get together to play a friendly game of football on Thanksgiving, but was also an effort to support local charity by raising funds for the game.
The 2019 Turkey Bowl showed growth in every measurement.
"This year we had 42 kids play in the Turkey Bowl made up of four teams (Golden Gobblers, Cassidy's Cranberries, Safra's Stuffing, and Litman's Leftovers). We also had many parents and neighbors come and support the tradition," shared founding father Evan Golden. "The Mayor of Parkland came back again this year as the honorary captain and made a beautiful heart-touching speech about Parkland Buddy Sports and how to get involved and support. Coach Andy also came as a representative from Parkland Buddy Sports and shared the mission and philosophy of the non-profit. We are so proud to say that a morning football game with all our sons friends raised $2,500 for Parkland Buddy Sports."
The four founding families each organize a team to play in the Turkey Bowl. The first round winners meet in the final to become the Parkland Turkey Bowl Champions.
"It feels great to have so much fun doing what we love and at the same time being able to raise money for a great local charity, I was so happy to not only see how much money we raised but how many parents and kids signed up to be volunteers with Parkland Buddy Sports," said Brian Litman, coach of Litman's Leftovers and back-to-back winners of the Parkland Turkey Bowl.
"The Parkland Turkey Bowl is a wonderful event bringing families together on Thanksgiving morning. The children play flag football while also raising money for a worthy cause," shared Mayor Hunschofsky. "I was honored to support the event and draw the playoff (brackets). Evan Golden and his team of volunteers did a wonderful job organizing the event. This kind of event is what Parkland is all about; residents coming together as a community to spend time together while supporting a worthy cause that helps others."
The Turkey Bowl supports a different charity each year with its fundraising efforts. Last year, the event supported SOS Childrens' Villages. The group plans to continue the event as long as possible. Ideally, the fathers hope to participate in the event down the road as grandfathers. The idea is to continue the inspiration and the fun from generation to generation.
Mike Safra, father and coach of Safra's Stuffing, loves the Parkland Turkey Bowl. "This Turkey Bowl, along with the best kids and parents in the community, is something I look forward to all year long. After the final snap I'm already looking forward to next year and the memories we will create!"
"It takes a team effort from coordination, planning and working together as team to make it successful. It's an awesome feelings seeing our community come together, support a great cause. I am just so proud of our city and kids. " Nick Cassidy from Cassidy's Cranberries.
By Jill Fox on November 20, 2018
By: Jill Fox
Cassidy’s Cranberries, Litman’s Leftovers, Safra’s Stuffing and Golden’s Gobblers are the hilarious team names that are part of this year’s Turkey Bowl.
In a fashion that only Parkland parents can provide, good old-fashioned flag football fun is being taken to the next level.
After the success of last year’s Turkey Bowl, the completely voluntary flag football game organized by four Parkland fathers, are ready for round two.
The second take of this event has been kicked up a notch, with sponsors, jerseys, food, music, even and a masseuse, because, of course, everyone need a good massage.
The Thanksgiving event will begin at 8 a.m., with the National Anthem followed by kick-off at 9 a.m. at Pine Trails Park. Coverage of the event in the form of pre, in game and post game interviews with players will round out the spectacle.
Also at the event and known to all in the Parkland youth sports community, “Freddy the Ref” who has 20-plus years experience, will referee the championship game between the winners of the first round.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, there is a philanthropic component. Organizers are asking participants to contribute cash donations and Dick’s gift cards to the SOS Children’s Village in Coconut Creek, who are in desperate need of sporting equipment. With over 30 families participating, they hope to raise several thousand dollars for the charity.
“As a member of the community my whole life and a Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate, I couldn’t be more proud of what these kids have put together for kids that are less fortunate. We work so hard to provide each and every kid a great sports experience in Parkland – it’s nice to see them helping others,” said Evan Golden who coaches the Gobblers with his sons Stone and Zane on the team.
Coach Michael Safra, whose two children Landon and Hudson are participating, encourages everyone to get involved in something they believe in and make a difference in someone’s life.
“To wake up on Thanksgiving and come out and share this event with other Parkland families is why we moved to this community.”