Monday, June 28, 2010

Pro Sports Challenge With Benefit Mall

My family and I have been doing charity races for 2 years now. I have to say that it has been a great way to give back to the community and spend your day in a healthy environment. However, I had never been to an event like the one we attended this past Saturday June 26th, 2010.

The office where my wife works, Benefit Mall, takes part on a yearly event at the New Canaan HS in Connecticut. It is called Pro Sports Challenge. The event has taken place since 1976 and was founded with the intention to move family members with severe and profound mental retardation closer to their parents' homes in Fairfield County. The Center is a 24 hour direct care residential program operated by the State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Retardation. The Center is comprised of 12 apartments with six people residing in each apartment, an Adult Day Program, and an Administration Building. In short, it is for a great cause. If you want to read more about this organization here is the link  SportsChallenge

It was like a Gladiator type of deal but milder. The challenges were simple, however it was proved that if you do not keep active even with the simplest of activities as jumping, "you are in big doodoo" when it comes to a competition.  The activities were as followed:

1- Obstacle Course
2- Running Water Balloon Relay
3- Long Jump
4-Tug of War
5- Basketball Shooting
6- Softball Throwing
7- Sack Race

Each team was form by 4 men and 4 women and the prices of course were Gold, Silver & Bronze medals. There were 5 color divisions: Red, Green, Yellow, Blue & Purple. We were in the Green division.  Each division had 4 teams.
Even though every one was competing for the medal, the spirit of sportsmanship was all over. Every one had a great vibe.

Our first stop, The Long Jump: We all thought that we will be running and jumping for the long jump. Boy, was I for a surprise. The rule was;  "You jump from the starting point and the next person in your team jumps from where you landed and so on" The trick here was NEVER fall backwards. or your distance will be where your hands land. Every one was doing fine.. a little jump here a little jump there. I came to play and I though I had jump pretty far for a fat but on the lading, I landed on my heels, hurt my knee and tried for the life of me to stay up but tripped backwards and gave 3 steps back. Same thing happened to another team before me and they did not take any points off so we all argued ours and won. :), however, we finished 3rd on that challenge.

Next, Water Balloon Relay: I said, piece of cake, but after displaying my jumping abilities, I had to wear my knee brace. We all had to run carrying a water balloon without dropping it, if you pop it, you had to start all over again. As you came back to the starting line, you had to pass the balloon to the next member and so on. When it came to my turn, the person that handed me the balloon was carrying it by the little knot so when I grabbed it I didn't have a good grip on it. So I dropped it half way but luckily the balloon kept rolling the same direction I was going so I picked it up fairly easy and didn't cost us much, but we were again in 3rd place.

Next was the Softball Throw: Needless to say I don't like baseball so throwing the ball and make it go through a hoop is not my game. We all got 5 balls to throw, the distance was a good 15 feet away maybe more. I got 1 out of the 5. The first one was too short, the 2nd went in, the rest kept hitting the inside edge of the tire causing it to bounce back. Again, we got 3rd place on this challenge so we were not doing too bad.

Next Basketball Shooting: Another sport I was never meant to play, lol. Each team member had 30 seconds to shoot and score as many as one could. LMAO, the first few were too short the next were hitting the ring on the inside but bouncing back.. Only made one basket but one of the girls in the team kicked ass and I lost count after 7 of her baskets. So we got 3rd place AGAIN.

Next, Sack Race: This is an old time favorite of mine. I have not done a sack race since I was 10 years old, and I am not kidding. So this one was a lot of fun. Too bad the distance was too short. I was one of the last ones in the team to take my turn, but I flew on this one. Again, we were 3rd.. Starting to see a pattern? lol After this last one, we all headed to the Cafeteria for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the school's gym for a contest and the chance to win $100,000. The participants of this challenge are randomly picked (let's just say ok to that).  So only 4 people are picked. Sadly no one was able to make a 3 point shot or the half court shot. After this we all headed back to the field for the last two remaining events.

Next, The Obstacle Course: You had to zigzagged around 5 cones, go through a set of 6 tires, go under a limbo looking thingy, run and turn at the cone located about 30 feet away and do the limbo thing again, followed by a big Pad that you had to jump on or rolled over it to then zigzagged through some real obstacle race obstacles. .lol (sorry, I don't know what they are called). We all had to do it. Some sadly missed some cones, one knocked off the limbo thingy, and some missed some of the last 5 obstacles. This was the second challenge where I did really good.
I was worried about the tires and falling on my ass, but went well. Our team got 2nd place in the division in this event Time wise, but after the penalties we landed on 4th. We all thought, hey we still have one more "Tug off".

Yes, next is Tug Off War: Ok, I was by far the shortest male in the team followed by the shortest female in the team (Joyce), and I was told that I was the strongest member of the team... WHAT? don't ask me how they came up with that but oh well. I was chosen to go at the end of the rope. I saw some of the players from the other team and said "ok not bad, may turn out ok" That was before I saw Arnold, freaking California's governor Arnold. When I saw that wall of muscle I was like WTF?? He grabbed the other end of the rope and they blew the whistle. It was over in a few seconds.. As soon as the signal went off, I was literally skiing on the grass.. All I had too do was pull tricks and I was skiing on water..the guy pulled like a freaking bull and we had no chance at all. This and the obstacle race got us disqualified and lost the Bronze medal. :-(..

Man,, now I have another challenge to look forward to next year.. yes.. more workout more jumping, more basketball and more softball throwing is needed.. lol but I have a year to get it done.. lol
In all, this was by far the coolest event I have ever taken part on.. It would be great to put my own team together and go for the gold but the entry fee is $1500.00 yes, it is for a great cause, but ouch.. lol

Thank you Benefit Mall for letting me be part of this event. Pictures and video of this event are coming up soon


  1. well done joyce and israel.. sounds like a really worthwhile event. gald you enjoyed the day