CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - After a successful inaugural run in 2009, the Will Barrow Memorial Flag Football Tournament returns for the second annual event on November 6 with all proceeds going to the UVa HELP Line, a non-profit, student-run crisis hotline. Play is scheduled to start at noon. The event will take place again at UVa's historic Lambeth Field.
The UVa HELP Line is an anonymous, confidential telephone service serving the residents of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia. It is affiliated with UVa's Madison House. HELP strives to provide callers with an empathetic ear for any sort of issue they wish to discuss and on finding long-term services in the community for callers, such as counseling services, medical services or drug treatment programs.
After the tournament raised nearly $10,000 nationwide during the inaugural event, tournament founder Max Pomper was awarded the IMLCA Boston Market Humanitarian Award for his efforts. The award was created to recognize student-athletes for their strategies and efforts in addressing community needs with campus-based efforts.
"The hotline has been underfunded for 17 years with no sponsorships," said Pomper upon the creation of the tournament in 2009. "We want to honor our friend Will Barrow and spread awareness of suicide prevention. With the HELP hotline, there is an outlet for people in need in times of crisis around UVa and the Charlottesville area. This is something we wish Will would have known about."
Taking over as the point person for the tournament this year with the graduation of Pomper is Mikey Thompson, a former teammate of both Pomper and Barrow and a major contributor to the inaugural event. Thompson is currently a student assistant on Dom Starsia's staff after exhausting his eligibility last spring for the 2010 ACC champions.
"Last year, I was one of the first people Max came to with his idea to organize this tournament," said Thompson. "We worked side-by-side throughout the process, and felt that the event was a huge success last year. Max and I both shared a unique bond with Will, and we looked up to him in so many ways. I wanted to make sure that we brought this event back to Charlottesville again this year, and continue to spread the important message that the UVa HELP line wishes to convey to our students and surrounding community. Our hope is that this event will continue to bring college students together and impact this community in a positive way for years to come."
As a fourth-year player in 2008, Barrow was a captain of a squad that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. He was considered one of the top defensive midfielders in the country throughout his career. During his senior season, he finished with a career-high 28 ground balls, while scoring seven goals and adding three assists. Following the season he was selected in the second round of the Major League Lacrosse draft by the Chicago Machine and appeared in five games during his rookie year. He appeared in 63 games during his UVa career and scored 18 goals with seven assists. Barrow also was a member of the Cavaliers' 2006 NCAA Champion team.
The tournament costs $150 per team with a roster limit of 10 people per team for the 7-on-7 tournament. All participants will receive an orange and blue bracelet that reads "Remember Will Barrow," with the hotline number, 434-295-TALK, inscribed on the inside.
All inquires can be sent to WBmemorial23@gmail.com. Donations are welcome via checks payable to: Madison House. Please write on the memo line - "UVa HELP Line."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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