Casinos Hitting Home Runs For The Heart - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/24/04

Casinos Hitting Home Runs For The Heart

South Mississippi casinos usually compete for business by offering such things as the loosest slots or the best dinner buffet.

But Saturday, casinos employees were competing for a cause in the third annual American Heart Association benefit softball tournament.

"This year we have over 290 players. They're very, very competitive. We've had only one minor injury, but it's all for the American Heart Association and it's the one time of year that we do something as an entire team, not just entire different casinos," said tournament director Michelle Chatham.

"It brings people together for a good cause and we're trying to make people aware the symptoms and signs of heart disease and this is a great way to do it. It's exercise," said American Heart Association spokesperson Becky Ginn.

Ten teams from eight South Mississippi casinos took to the diamond for this double elimination tournament in Hiller Park.

Even though they enjoy having fun for a good cause, they also enjoy having bragging rights for an entire year.

Even if that sometimes means switching teams to keep those bragging rights.

"I was with the Beau Rivage the first year and somehow we won it, and then I was with the Grand last year and somehow we won it again," said Grand Casino Gulfport player Mike Smith.

So he, like all the rest, are hoping his team will finish in first, while raising awareness about heart disease.

Last year, the tournament raised 25-hundred dollars for the American Heart Association.

The Grand Casino Gulfport and the Beau Rivage have been the previous tournament winners.

This year's winner will be determined Sunday afternoon after the final playoffs.

By Karla Redditte

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