It’s really pretty easy to coast through periods of life without making much of an impact on anyone other than ourselves. After all, every one of us has jobs to do, kids to raise, dinners to cook. Traffic jams, business trips, conference calls, and late-night feedings make it even harder to think of anything more than what’s directly in front of us. I can speak personally that there are times when it’s hard enough to get through the difficult points in our own lives to even consider taking time to make a difference in someone else’s.
So I’m going to make it easy for you to do something awesome. In fact, I’m actually going to try to make it hard for you NOT to.
We’re talking about the 2010 Chatter Cup Hockey Tournament. This will be my third year participating in this great event, which takes place July 30-August 1 at both Tri Town Arena and Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, NH. This year’s iteration benefits Easter Seals’ Autism Network. Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. The symptoms of each of ASD might include problems in communication, social interactions, and repetitive behaviors, with treatments ranging from behavioral or speech therapy to educational options to medicinal approaches. It is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with ASD, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. Easter Seals’ Autism Network was formed to help fund many programs that provide children with autism and their families with support, education, and opportunity.
The creators of this great event, both of whom have families affected by ASD, have a shared passion in creating a fun, family-friendly hockey event. They’ve succeeded in doing that and more. The first Chatter Cup tournament was held in 2008, with 10 teams helping to raise over $21,000. Last year’s event saw the introduction of several divisions of varying skill levels as well as a women’s tournament, and raised $28,000. The 2010 tournament promises to be even bigger, with a kickoff event, 23 teams spanning multiple divisions, and an eye on even larger fundraising totals.
And that’s where you come in.
Below you will find a link to the 2010 Chatter Cup donation page for my team, Amoskeag Beverages. The organizers of the tournament have set a team fundraising goal of $1000, but we can do better than that. This site has averaged 1,000 unique visitors per month since March 1 of this year – if every visitor donated $1, we’d reach our team goal before the tournament. But we can do better than that. If everyone donated $5, we’d raise $5,000. $10 would mean $10,000. $20 per visitor would match the entire tournament total from 2008.
Now I don’t expect every visitor to donate $20 to Easter Seals’ Autism Network. In fact, I don’t care about every visitor. I care about you. What have you done lately to give back, to make an impact, to change someone’s life? If you’ve done something, then thank you, the world needs more people like you. But if you’re like me, you settle into ruts where the only thing you care about is getting to your next appointment or meeting or stoplight. By asking you to donate below, I’m asking you to take five minutes out of your day to help a child and a family that has to deal with a difficult and relatively unknown disorder. I’m extremely lucky that my son is developing exactly as he should, and I cannot imagine the anguish of parents who have to deal with the unknowns of ASD. I’m unable to offer emotional support to these folks because I don’t know what they’re going through, and I can’t provide enough financial assistance to make a difference on my own. But I can use my site and its generous readership to support a great cause and a great event.
Is that not enough to make you click the link? Maybe I can prod you into helping me by offering up some Backyard-Hockey.com schwag. As a result of some feedback I’ve received on our logo (seen on our Facebook page), I will be designing and offering for sale official Backyard-Hockey.com apparel in the very near future. As of this posting, the designs have yet to be finalized. But what I’m going to do is take everyone who donates at least $10 and put them into a drawing for a limited edition, first-run Backyard-Hockey.com t-shirt. Heck, I don’t even have one of these things yet. But basically for every $10 you donate using the link below, your name will be entered into a drawing for a free t-shirt. Donate $20, and you get two entries. $50 gets you 5 entries, and so on. To enter, simply forward your donation confirmation e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This contest will run until 11:59pm on Sunday, August 1, 2010, with the winner announced the following week.
There will only be one t-shirt winner, but everyone who donates will have my sincere gratitude. I try to only ask for donations once a year so as not to pester my friends, family, and readers. For the third year in a row, and for the foreseeable future, this event is it. Please help me raise much-needed money for a wonderful cause, and feel good about making a difference.
For more information on the Chatter Cup, the opening ceremonies at Fisher Cat Stadium, or any of the other events taking place during the Chatter, visit the tournament’s official website at www.thechattercup.com.