Fundraising goal is for scholarships
BOWLING GREEN—Tiffany Coleman-Dade cannot help but smile when she talks about carrying on the legacy of her son, Kaleo. This weekend, the Kaleo Date Co-Ed Charity Softball Tournament enters its third year.
The popularity of the tournament is evident by how fast it has grown in such a short time. It speaks to not only the love the community has shown to Tiffany, but to the love everyone had for Kaleo, a star Bowling Green High School athlete, who died after his car hit a deer in 2019.
Tiffany said she and Kaleo talked a lot about what he wanted to do with his life. And during their talks she learned he wanted to return to Bowling Green after college and career to help the students who were like him. They might not have stellar academic profiles, but they could achieve a lot in life, provided they were given the chance. Even after Kaleo died, Tiffany vowed to make his dream a reality—to keep his legacy alive. The softball tournament is a way to raise funds for the scholarships Kaleo wanted to provide to students in this area.
Tiffany said the recipient of the first Kaleo Dade Memorial Scholarship, Josh Korte, graduated this from MACC recently with an associate’s degree. Josh was a classmate and teammate of Kaleo’s. She said Josh intends to continue his education, heading on to Northwest in the fall.
This year, Tiffany said, they had to limit the tournament to 20 teams. Khoury League didn’t play last year because of the pandemic. This year, in order to keep the tournament to two days, Tiffany and all the people who help her with the tournament set the limit.
“They’ve had quite a few rainouts,” she added, “so they may be playing on Friday.” To her, it’s important that the kids get to play because they missed out on last year.
Next year, Tiffany said, they are going to try a new format for the tournament. She has a friend coming in from Columbia, who runs tournaments there to help out.
Those changes, may lead to some expansion, she added.
Right now 16 teams have signed up for the tournament. Tiffany said another softball tournament in Center impacted the number of teams that usually sign up to play here in Bowling Green.
“Last year, because of COVID, there wasn’t a whole lot going on,” she said. With more events happening as social distancing restrictions relax, there’s more for people to do. “Life has pretty much resumed. But that was to be expected.”
Case in point, the City of Columbia is also holding its BBQ Bash and Cook off on Saturday, as well.
“I think it may actually draw some folks to see what’s going on,” Tiffany said. Two ball fields will be running at the same time. The concession stand for the ball games will be open. And Sugar Shack will be selling shaved ice with a variety of flavors. If this heat wave continues, it will be a welcome refreshment for those playing and for those watching the games.
“Parking may be an issue,” she added.
In addition to Korte, two other BGHS students have earned the Kaleo Dade Scholarship.
“We are super proud of Josh,” she said, “just beaming with pride.” She noted that Jose was exactly like Kaleo and was the perfect recipient of the first scholarship from the funds raised by the first tournament.
“He’s moving on to do great things,” she said. “And that’s exactly what we wanted.”
This year, Clay LaZear received the scholarship. Last year, it was Meghan Kniess another BGHS athlete. “Clay is the kid that will give you 110% every time. And if you tell him he can’t do something, he’s going to work twice as hard to prove that he can do it,” Tiffany said.
In a Facebook post, Tiffany said of Meghan: Meghan exemplifies all the qualities we had in mind when coming up with this award and she plans to attend MACC/Mizzou to further her education. We’re very proud of her accomplishments and wish her continued success.”
Funds raised by this year’s tournament will go to a student at the end of the next school year.
First games start at 8 a.m. on Saturday. “We have the bracket done,” Tiffany said, “so we should be done by mid-afternoon on Sunday.”
The cornhole tournament that was started last year to run with the softball tournament is being moved to September, Tiffany said.
“We want to make that its own entity, so we’re looking for a date in September to hold it,” she said. Last year, because of the rain threat, the cornhole tournament was moved to the Pike County Fairgrounds. Tiffany said that’s a good place to hold it because no matter the weather, they could still have the tournament.