Festivus Sports is for the rest of us to give back

Jeff Pederson of The Review staff

NICK WILSON of Plymouth has launched Festivus Sports, a new non-profit organization specializing in athletic events to benefit local charities. The first ever Festivus Sports event will take place Saturday, July 13, with a dodgeball competition at Bade Utility Park during Mill Street Festival in Plymouth. — Submitted photo NICK WILSON of Plymouth has launched Festivus Sports, a new non-profit organization specializing in athletic events to benefit local charities. The first ever Festivus Sports event will take place Saturday, July 13, with a dodgeball competition at Bade Utility Park during Mill Street Festival in Plymouth. — Submitted photo If you combine friendly athletic competition, sportsmanship and teamwork with a healthy dose of community-minded philanthropic flair, you have the basic framework for Festivus Sports, a new non-profit organization designed to drawn on the uniting spirit of sporting events to assist those in need.

Nick Wilson of Plymouth recently founded Festivus Sports as a way to bring together two of his favorite endeavors - sports and helping others.

“I majored in physical education with an emphasis on sports management in college and I had always had an interest in running my own sports-related business or organization,” Wilson said. “I had been looking into running an indoor sports complex, but I found that the overhead with something like that is quite high, especially when you are talking about paying for and maintaining a building.”

After graduating from college, Wilson settled into a top notch job in the retail merchandising field.

Even while working in a completely different field, Wilson never lost sight of his sports related dreams.

“As I continued to brainstorm I began to think about how much I enjoyed helping people,” he said. “From there I began to develop the idea of doing sports events that would benefit charitable and community-related causes. It was really the best of both worlds for me, because I was able to marry my love of sports with my passion for assisting others.”

Wilson formed Festivus Sports as a not-for-profit, faith-based organization geared to assisting charities, organizations, groups, individuals and families in need.

“It was important to me that it be a not-for-profit, faith-based organization and that the main goal would be to help others,” Wilson said. “Our mission is to help wor- thy causes by promoting healthy lifestyles, which encompass spirit, mind and body.

In just a few short months, Wilson has put together a Dodgeball Tournament to coincide with Mill Street Festival in Plymouth Saturday, July 13 at Bade Utility Park.

The event will benefit the Lakeshore Connect Church Planning Network.

“We are looking for captains to form teams of at least five additional people to sign up for the tournament,” Wilson said. “Although it will be competitive and there will be prizes for the winners, it is not a super serious type of tournament.

“The main objective is to have fun with others in a sporting environment and make a difference in the community in the process,” he said. “I’m hoping businesses will form teams and use it as a teambuilding opportunity.”

The tournament will feature an open competition for all ages from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Individuals and teams can register by emailing their name and phone number to festivussports@gmail.com. Walk-ins are welcome with a parent signature required for anyone under 18 years of age.

The registration fee is $75 for a team of six to eight members with a minimum of one female per team.

“We will be giving out prizes to at least the first place teams and possibly second place as well depending on how many teams sign up,” Wilson said. “We will also give out a sportsmanship award, which the teams will be able to vote on.

“Because it is a first-time event it is hard to know how everything will go,” he said. “However, I think this will be a very fun event. It helps a lot that it will be running during the Mill Street Festival, which typically draws 5,000 to downtown Plymouth.”

Festivus Sports features the leadership of a board of direcby tors, which includes Diana Baus of Mount Calvary, Jameson Hoffmann of Oostburg, Aaron Martell of Plymouth, and Wilson’s wife Christa of Plymouth.

Wilson said while the board chose dodgeball as the first event for Festivus Sports, several other sporting competition are currently under consideration for the future.

“We have a board that meets to decide the direction of the organization,” Wilson said. “During one of our early brainstorming sessions, we had been discussing various types of events like runs, kickball and obstacle course competitions.

“We eventually settled on dodgeball for our first event in part because it is less strenuous to participate in and less difficult to organize that some of the other possibilities.”

Wilson says he already has a solid idea for a future Festivus Sports event to be held during the Halloween season.

“My wife Christa came up with the idea of doing a flash mob fundraiser,” Wilson said. “For those that don’t know, a flash mob is when people meet a certain location at a certain time and start dancing as a group.

“It is a unique and fun type of event that I think could be a big success,” he said.

As for the name Festivus Sports, Wilson said the television show “Seinfeld” served as the main inspiration.

“Christa suggested the name Festivus after the ‘Seinfeld’ episode where they celebrate an alternative holiday for Christmas called Festivus,” Wilson said. “In the show, they call it ‘Festivus for the rest of us.’ That is kind of what this is too.

“It is athletic competition that is not just for competitive athletes, but for recreational athletes who are looking to have fun and get some good exercise, or ‘the rest of us,’” he said.

Wilson is pleased to have Lakeshore Connect Church Planting Network serve as the first benefi- ciary of a Festivus Sports event.

“I found out about the organization through Pastor Aaron Martell at New Life Church,” Wilson said. “It helps people that have the potential to be church planters.

“We currently attend Journey Church, which was formed in Sheboygan Falls by Pastor Jim Parker a few years ago as an offshoot of New Life Church,” he said. “One of the main goals of church planters is to reach people who have been turned off to church. It is a big key to plant churches like Journey Church that help those people find a connection to God.”

Wilson would like to find other charitable organizations to partner with on future events.

“There are many local organization that I think could benefit from what I’d like to do with Festivus Sports,” Wilson said. “My goal is to start local and if it catches on to branch out throughout the state and possible go on to regional and national levels. I would love to do this on a full-time basis someday.”

Wilson is also involved with his wife Christa’s business, Get Dinner on the Table, which provides healthy meals for people with busy lives.

“I love philanthropy and I would really like to move into the business of giving,” he said. “There are so many causes that are worthy of support. My goal is to reach out and assist as many of them as I can.”

Anyone interested in partnering with Festivius Sports as a sponsor or having an event organized for a charitable cause can email festivussports@gmail.com

For more information on Festivus Sports, visit www.festivussports.com

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