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Community kickball tournament makes a difference on Indy's east side

Posted at 6:03 AM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 07:49:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Community leaders on the east side are bringing neighbors together to kick crime to the curb.

The Far Eastside Community Kickball Tournament is back after missing a year in 2020, and organizers are ready to make a difference. The tournament is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Aug. 7. Registration is online with a $12 entry fee, and people must be 18 and over to play.

"The narrative is always that we can't come together without people arguing without conflict, but that's not really the truth. That's not really what happens in our community," Belinda Drake said.

Drake said the inaugural far east side kickball tournament in 2019 knocked that stigma out of the diamond. Now that the pastime is back, families are finding their game faces again.

"People are actually recruiting now. They're drafting people, and I just wanted to have fun and everybody's taking it real serious," Drake said.

But winning this tournament is a big deal because the winning team in August gets a cash prize that gives them a chance to change their community.

"It gives people buy-in and the best way to do that is say, hey, I'm gonna organize this. We're gonna come together, have some fun, here's some money, but give them the power to do what's best for themselves," Drake said.

Drake lives on the east side with her fiance and their daughter. It's where she chooses to raise her family. That's why curbing crime and correcting the narrative goes beyond even this initiative.

"In order to participate in the tournament, you have to be 18 and up, but we want you to bring your family. We want the youth to see positive role models. We want them to see that we can all come together and do something as simple as play kickball," Drake said.

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