SoFi Stadium's field had a new look last Thursday, featuring three bases and a home plate for an adult kickball tournament hosted by the Rams in partnership with Merging Vets & Players (MVP) and CLUBWAKA (World Adult Kickball Association).
"It's all fun and games, I'm not here to hurt anybody, it's friendly competition and I want to win," Jamal Ali, MVP member and 187th Infantry Regiment veteran, said jokingly.
The friendly but competitive tournament featured 16 teams battling for the "Veterans Kickball Open 2021" trophy and more importantly, bragging rights. Team mascot Rampage and Rams Cheerleaders attended the event to support the teams competing in the three-round tournament.
"The Rams sponsored this event for us which is incredible," said Nate Boyer, cofounder of MVP. "They've been a great partner to us for years, ever since we really started MVP out in LA. This is the first time we've done a big event like this and it's awesome. The fact that it's Veterans Day coming up, it's Salute to Service month and the Salute to Service game is on Sunday, it's a really special moment."
The event also featured exclusive stadium tours for guests. All proceeds from the event's ticket sales went to benefit MVP and their mission to empower combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off; providing them with a new team to assist with their transition, promote personal development and show them they are never alone.
"On a weekly basis we meet up at a gym and train together and talk about our struggles," explained Boyer. "That's how we really do the healing within the group, but to grow we have to throw events like this and get the community involved to understand who we are. Veterans are just people at the end of the day. We're all human beings and we made the choice to do something, but we all bleed the same blood, and we struggle with a lot of the same things… we just want to feel a part of the community and this is a great way to accomplish that."
The tournament continued the Rams' year-round military appreciation efforts and the team's Salute to Service week of events designed to support the military community by honoring, empowering and connecting with service members, veterans and their families.
"Honestly it's been a wonderful experience," shared Ali. "I got a chance to get around guys and females that are actually combat war veterans that share some of the same experiences that you share, went through some of the same experiences that you went through, feel like you have some people that can connect with you and understanding the feelings that you share when you're away from everyone else."
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community