More than just fun and games


Charlie Batch witnesses the competition daily in the locker room, players going against each other in ping pong, pool and other fun pick-up games.

So he figured, why not take that fun atmosphere and turn it into something special.

"That is how it started, from things I saw in the locker room," said Batch. "They are in there shooting a tape ball into a garbage can. I thought we can do something like this and take that competitive nature off the field and make it a fundraiser. You see guys playing the games and they are competitive. It's fun to do it this way and have the fans interact with the players and see a different side in a relaxed atmosphere."

Batch's vision was on display when the 4th Annual In the Pocket with Charlie Batch was held at J. Verno Studio. Batch and many of his teammates competed against guests in the same games they regularly play, including pool and ping pong.

"It's humbling to see so many guys here," said Batch. "To have them come out and support it means a lot. You see the long hours we put in on Monday after a game, to see them come out and help raise money for a good cause speaks volumes for everybody."

And while the event is all fun and games on the surface, the real reason for being there is to raise money for the Best of the Batch Foundation's Reading and Computer Literacy Program.

"This is one of our biggest programs that we have," said Latasha Wilson-Batch, the foundation's executive director. "The money that comes in to us means we can survive another year with giving kids other resources to help improve reading and test scores for the state's standardized tests. We have seen the kids study habits change by doing this, having the computer lab.   We see differences in study habits, test scores some. Without this event, we wouldn't be able to do such things for the children in the community."

The foundation has a computer lab at their office, and many students who don't have computer access at home come after school to improve their skills.

"You see the kids coming in wanting to work hard," said Batch. "Our foundation focuses on the educational aspect of it and we are just trying to do our small part to raise the literacy level around the state. A lot of the kids don't have computers at home. This is where they come to try to learn and get better and keep up in the classroom.  We are able to hear the cries that are out there. To have another avenue, school and foundation, it's a win-win for everything. To be able to put programs like this together, that is what this is all about."

The event also included a silent and live auction, featuring unique items and Steelers jerseys.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.