The second annual "Do Better" tournament is returning to Langdon at the Iron Horse Field on August 19 and 20. Organized and hosted by Regan Turner, this softball tournament is held in honour of her late brother Adam Turner, who tragically passed away nine years ago due to suicide.
To keep his memory alive and also spread awareness about the importance of men's mental health, the Do Better tournament fundraises for the Centre For Suicide Prevention.
"I wanted to do something for him to remember him and to also spread the word in regards to men's mental health and suicide prevention, and the best way that I knew how to do that was to do a ball tournament as a memorial to Adam," she said.
Saying Adam was her best friend and they bonded over baseball, Turner says this tournament not only spreads an important message about men's mental health, but it's also something she knows he would've loved. Adam was a fun-loving guy, so this tournament has a special touch to it to make it more than just softball.
"We added in some Turner rules for him, if you show up and you play in a Speedo, you're going to get a mulligan and you're going to get a couple drink tickets and it's just a fun way to play the game. I think he would have gotten a huge kick out of it."
Other Turner rules include things like "don't be a prick", being locked in a porta-potty if you don't clean up after yourself, and the most important rule: "Check in on each other - ALWAYS. Reach out if you are struggling, it's not just you against the world, and we promise the sun always shines after a storm."
The tournament has grown from last year, as there were five teams before but this year will feature eight. Turner said they could've had even more teams, but she wanted to keep the tournament smaller so that the message of raising awareness for men's mental health didn't get lost amid the fun of a softball tournament.
"We do take time in between games, that hour break, where we talk about men's mental health and we talk about people that we've lost and we come together as a group so that we can ensure that the message is getting out to everybody. We felt that if we grow it to a 20 or 30 team tournament then we don't have that time to ensure that everyone is talking about men's mental health and suicide prevention, that kind of gets lost. We want to make sure that that message stays true, that we need people to know what resources are available and that it's ok to talk about it."
Turner says a huge focus is destigmatizing talking about mental health, especially among men, as men are less likely to speak about potential mental health challenges than women. The Do Better tournament also hopes to destigmatize suicide, as Turner says it's important to speak about how you've been impacted by suicide and it's ok to reach out.
"(We want to) help anybody out there who's been having those negative, sad thoughts and don't know where to turn, or to help those who have been affected by a lost loved one from suicide, that it's ok to talk about it and it's not a big stigmatism. We want to remember those that we lost."
Beyond the teams participating and the crowd, the Centre for Suicide Prevention and Alberta Health Services will be there providing educational materials, information, and also prizes.
Even if you aren't in one of the eight teams participating, Turner says you should still come to the tournament at the Iron Horse Field in Langdon to enjoy the fun and support an important cause. There will be prizes, raffle items, a beer garden, food trucks, and more.
"Last year Adam was definitely there cheering us on and having a blast with us, so I think he would be very proud of this tournament and how it's growing and that we're keeping that message alive to help others out there."
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