Jermaine Kearse and a few Sea Gals joined Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson at the third annual United Way's All-Star Softball Classic for Youth, promoting programs that help young people living on the street get a stable home, complete their education and work toward a successful career.
Even with the Seattle Mariners on the road this weekend, Safeco Field will host an exciting event this weekend as the United Way All-Star Softball Classic takes place Sunday.
And while the level of play on the field might not live up to the standard set this season by the AL West-leading Mariners, Sunday's game to support struggling youth and young adults in Seattle and King County will be a fun and worthwhile cause.
"Guys on this team like to give back to our community," said Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, who will be playing in the game for the third time. "I saw this as a perfect opportunity to do so. To support homeless youth, to be able to go out there and show my support, that's very important."
Joining Kearse in the game are current teammates Jon Ryan and Cooper Helfet, as well as former Seahawks Marcus Trufant and Lawyer Milloy. The list of participants also includes former Mariners Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson; Sonics legend Shawn Kemp; current Sounders Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso and Zach Scott; members of the local business community; Seattle radio personalities and more.
General admission tickets to the game, which begins at 3 p.m. with doors opening at 1:30, are $15, while kids under 14 are free. You can find more information on the event and purchase tickets here.
"The United Way is just such an awesome organization on so many different levels," Helfet said. "The new area they're trying to fill is trying to get kids that have gotten out of the school system, for whatever reason, back in. Kids who because of family problems or life issues have left schools, they're trying to get them back into it.
"United Way is such a powerful, amazing foundation. It's just an awesome event. We'll get out there and try to play some softball, try to sell as many tickets as we can and try to put on a show and have a good time with it."
While Seahawks players are participating to support a good cause, they make no promises as to the quality of their performances. Some non-baseball players have a good chance to shine on Sunday—Milloy is a former college baseball player and Alonso played a lot of baseball growing up in Cuba—but others, such as Helfet and Kearse, have very little if any background in baseball.
"My softball game is not good," said Kearse, who is an avid golfer in his free time. "The golf swing does not translate. Swinging a bat feels like the most unathletic thing ever to me."
Kearse's plan in the field is to "try to get into right field, because not a lot of people hit it over there."
Helfet is also worried about his softball skills: "We'll see. It might be kind of ugly. I was a lacrosse player. Not a big baseball background, but I'll see what happens."
Ugly or not, Sunday's game at Safeco Field is a very worthy cause and promises to be a good time.
"All the different people who show up—you've got people from the Bachelor, you've got people from radio, to soccer players to baseball players, you've got everyone from one big community showing up to support a good cause, which is always fun," Kearse said.
Photos of the Seahawks taking over Cascade Middle School, along with other volunteers to help renovate the youth center on campus, and encouraged the students to stay active, eat healthy, and focus on their education.