Pickleball tournament: First-ever Turkey Ball event generates $6,200 in charity funds.

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By Jacob Jackson

Pickleball tourney
Photograph of the inaugural Northport Turkey Ball pickleball tournament, raising $6,200 for charity. Organizers aim to increase that sum fourfold in the coming year. Image credit: Keith Brady.

Football had to make way for a new tradition on Thanksgiving morning last month, when Keith Brady, a resident of Northport Village, organized the first ever Northport Turkey Ball – a pickleball tournament that quickly turned into a charity event for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

It was a wonderful experience to host the first Northport Turkey Ball tournament,” Brady said to the Journal. The event attracted 24 players, who competed on the private courts of Brady and his friend and neighbor, Joe Willen.

The tournament raised $6,200 for the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Support a Family Program, which helps children with blood disorders and cancers and their families. The money came from generous donations from local and Long Island businesses, as well as individuals who supported the cause through cash and raffle gifts.

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This money will make a difference in the lives of many children and their siblings, who will receive something special for the holidays – a little bit of joy in their difficult times,” Brady said.

Brady, who owns a local business, has three daughters, and is a pickleball player and instructor, said he was amazed by the kindness of the many Northport and Long Island businesses, pickleball companies, and people who contributed to the event.

The event raised $3,000 on its first day of fundraising. By November 24, the day of the tournament, that amount had more than doubled. Players from Northport and Long Island, aged between 19 and 66 years old, including father-son pairs, showed up on the courts the day after Thanksgiving, demonstrating the wide appeal of pickleball and the community spirit.

The Turkey Ball organizers have big plans for the future, aiming to expand the tournament to 96 players and a fundraising target of $20,000 to $25,000 next year. People who want to sign up can visit the Fox Den Pickleball website, which will be up and running in the next week or two. Brady recently started the company, offering lessons and games at his home court.

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This tournament is not just about playing a sport,” said Brady. “It’s a way to show compassion and support to children in need, especially during the holiday season.

The inaugural Northport Turkey Ball tournament
Tom Laughlin, a resident of Northport, and Mike Karmatz, emerge as the victors of the Turkey Ball. Photo credit: Keith Brady.

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