GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Even though the rain made for a muddy mess, the cause was too great to stop the competition.
Saturday, 25 teams and more than 100 players got down and dirty at Bayou View Sports Complex in Gulfport for a kickball tournament.
"I just thought three years ago what a great idea, get the community involved, let them see what nursing homes really are about and the type of people that work in nursing homes and just to come together as a community," said Leslie Bucklar.
Bucklar, who works at Boyington nursing home in Gulfport, organizes the annual tournament. Each team pays $150 to enter and through sponsorships, ticket sales, and concessions, they raise thousands of dollars.
Proceeds are split amongst participating Coast nursing homes to help buy presents for residents at Christmas.
"This kind of offsets the cost of it, or they can do a little bit more. They can buy more presents have a little bit bigger party, or maybe go on an outing they would not normally get to go on," said Bucklar.
Participating for the first time, Dunbar Village employees of Bay St. Louis got extra crafty and spirited with their uniforms by adding colorful socks and tutus.
"It's going to be great. I think it's going to add a lot of energy to our home as we all try to figure out what's best to surprise our elders with," said Amy Ivey.
Nursing home employees say the holidays can be a tough time for residents, so the gifts will help to make their Christmas a little merrier.
"I just hope everybody realizes all of our seniors in the community, and the wonderful world that we had because of them and everything they've provided their whole life," said June Griggs. "It's a way for us to give back."
The tournament raised more than $11,000.