Annual Turkey Bowl Honors Family Member

Annual Turkey Bowl Honors Family Member

"It's a community based game so we just want to keep showing people that our community does work together, that we can keep things alive around here. We care. We do care about what goes on our here," said Curtis Davis.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - In the Jonathan Street neighborhood, the Wheaton Park Turkey Bowl is as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and all the fixings but this year will bring more meaning to the game as Curtis Davis will not be in the line-up. He was a major player in the past, but he recently lost his battle to cancer.

WHAG's Kirstin Garriss shares their story.

"We didn't have any outlet to play football b/c we had no organization, we just had the pure desire and raw talent and we came out and formed our own league out here. And what we would do on thanksgiving day the turkey bowl would be a game with the younger guys against the older guys," said Pastor G. Natan Bell, who was one of the original players in the Turkey Bowl.

It's a Thanksgiving and neighborhood tradition dating back more than 50 years.

"It's just a tradition that we've kept in the community, just something we could do that we could be proud of not just a pickup game, it's game that we look forward to and we practice for it," said Bell.

But this year, they're missing a special player.

"My brother was very close. He had a lot of friends in this community," said Carlton Davis, who now helps organize the game. "And a lot of guys they'll still talk about him, still come up to me and tell me how they miss him so he comes to their mind a lot"

Curtis Davis played in the community game for more than 25 years before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, and passed away this past October.

"I know I'm not the only person who's going to feel this loss because as I say, he was very close to a lot of people in this community," said Davis.

And for several former players, this year's game is about honoring Curtis' memory

"Yes this game is completely in his honor. That's why I came out, I was retired, I wasn't going to play no more until you know we had to step up and everybody came out. A lot people come out because it was Curtis' day," said Jermaine Venable, who's played in the annual bowl for 10 years.

And after the final play, everyone goes home to eat dinner and talk about game -- a tradition this community says they'll continue.

"It's a family thing that we do in our community, it's a community based game so we just want to keep showing people that our community does work together, that we can keep things alive around here. We care. We do care about what goes on our here," said Davis.

More than 60 people attend the Wheaton Park Turkey Bowl this year.
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