The Annual Caroline Symmes Memorial Celebrity Softball Challenge turned 10 years old on Thursday, and Pacers center Myles Turner helped bring about a win for Pacers Sports & Entertainment in his first year as a team captain.
The charity event, which has become a staple of summer in Indianapolis, pits the Fever and Pacers against the Colts, with a large contingent of local media taking the field as well.
This year’s teams, Team Turner and Team Mathis, each brought impressive rosters to the table for the event, which benefits the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in Indiana.
“It was something that I wanted to do,” said Myles Turner when asked about taking the reins as one of the faces of the event. “It’s something that really goes on for a great cause, I work really closely with the Make a Wish Foundation and they work very closely with the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, so I’m happy they work hand-in-hand together.”
Last year was Turner’s first time competing in the Softball Challenge, and he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. This time around, Turner led off the game with a home run, setting the tone for Team Turner from the first swing.
Not only was Turner flanked by several of his teammates such as Lance Stephenson and Trevor Booker, but also had the added assistance of Fever players Shenise Johnson and Victoria Vivians.
Vivians, a rookie with the Fever, was thrilled to get a chance to compete in the Softball Challenge for the first time.
“I’m so excited,” Vivians said before the game. “All these wonderful fans out here, and everyone here is a competitor becuase we’re all athelthes.”
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With Turner getting the game started with a homer, Team Turner ended up hanging on four runs in the first inning, building an early lead. Team Turner notched another three runs in the fifth, leading to the 7-3 win.
For Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, the win came as a relief, as he had gone four straight softball games without having experienced a victory.
McMillan wasn’t surprsied that it was Turner who took on the role as a face of the event, complimenting the third-year player’s maturity.
“The one thing about Myles, what I’ve learned about him over the years, he understands the NBA both on the floor and off the floor,” McMillan explained. “The game has really gone out into the community as far as being connected to the community, and he’s all about being involved in the community. He has a number of things he does with a number of different groups in our community.”
On top of being a great cause, Turner appreciates the chance to get to interact with fans away from the basketball court, signing autographs and taking photos with the fans who came to Victory Field on Thursday evening.
“The fans are a part of everything,” said Turner “They’re what makes this game so special as well. It’s fun to be a part of it.”