On Monday night at Pinheads bowling alley, the Fever — alongside sponsors and fans — held their annual Indiana Fever Bowling Tournament.
The event features teams vying to be bowling champs, a silent auction, food, and music. However, the Bowling Tournament is more than just a fun night for fans and players, it also raises money for the Indiana Fever’s Be YOUnique Fund, which helps empower young women in Indiana.
“It’s special because our players just get to relax and have some fun, and interact with the fans,” said team president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf. “Our players really enjoy this.”
Once Fox Sports Indiana broadcaster Chris Denari kicked things off by announcing the teams, the players reported to their lanes and got ready to bowl.
On one lane, rookie Tiffany Mitchell bowled alongside Pacers rookie (although he no longer prefers the term “rookie”) Myles Turner.
It was Mitchell’s first Fever Bowling Tournament, and she was excited to come out after hearing about the event from her teammates. “I heard it was a great event that they put on every year with the people that support us and come to the games,” Mithchell explained. “So it’s nice to finally have face-to-face conversations with the people who come to the games.”
Between her bowls, Fever head coach Stephanie White spoke about why the Be YOUnique Fund is such an important cause for her and the team.
“You think about the opportunities that we have to be able to show young women, to help them improve their self image and help them improve their self respect,” White said. “We didn’t have those kind of role models growing up and it’s important for us to use our platform to be able to help them, and we certainly want to empower strong young women to be future leaders.”
Speaking of strong female leaders, Tamika Catchings bowled alongside coach White, and it was bitter sweet for Catchings, knowing it would be the last time she would participate in the annual event as a player.
“We need to win right!? It’s only right that I go out with a W,” laughed Catchings, before explaining the importance the event has to her. “We are always giving back to the community, it’s only right to be able to put on an event like this to create more opportunities for our young girls and empowering them and I think this, and through the Fever and everything we do in the community, is a way of giving back.”
While Cathings’ team didn’t end up victorious, she posted the best single round for a celebrity bowler, rolling an impressive 174.
Helping organize the event, including keeping tally of the scores is no small job, but Fever director of community relations and player relations Bobbi Courtright was up for the task, sprinting around the alley with a clipboard packed with information.
Courtright understands just how important the event is, which is why it’s one of her most meticulously planned outings of the year.
“This one is so special because we are raising money for our foundation, the Be YOUnique fund of the Pacers Foundation inc. where we give out grants to organizations serving girls and their specific needs,” said Courtright. “But it’s also a time to kick back and have fun and you get to see the players on a different level.”
By the end of the night, the Fever had raised more than $19,000 for the Be YOUnique fund. The first-place team was the Citizens Energy Group, which was paired with none other than Fever mascot Freddy Fever as a celebrity bowler.