“Yankees vs. Amish”: Charity Basketball Game Raises Money For A Good Cause

Amish vs. non-Amish in a competitive basketball game? In Geauga County, Ohio, home to the world’s fourth-largest Amish settlement, it happens every year in a charity event, pitting Amish against non-Amish teams. The purpose is to raise money for the local DDC Clinic, which helps children with rare genetic disorders.

Photo: Bill Fugate/Geauga Maple Leaf

This is something I’d heard about, but hadn’t ever had a chance to share here on the site. And they’ve actually been holding this event for decades now. So I was happy to see this report in the Geauga Maple Leaf. Here’s more on the game:

Patti Gallagher, the clinic’s operations director, shared the purpose of providing the community with this fun and exciting game.

“We see children with rare genetic disorders, and now adults with rare genetic disorders since we now have an adult physician (on staff) as well,” Gallagher said. “The basketball game, believe it or not, has been going on for over 25 years. My son (Bryan Kuch) is in charge of the Yankee basketball team, and also gets the Amish team to come (to participate).”

After holding the event at other locations for many years, Gallagher said her son saw and embraced an excellent opportunity last year to hold the event at the new gymnasium of Berkshire High School.

One of the things she loves most about the event is seeing the special needs clients enjoying it.

“It just warms my heart to see that,” Gallagher said.

In this year’s game, the “Yankee” team defeated the Amish squad by a hair, coming back to win 63-60 in a contest that came down to the very end.

“Yankees” in this case would be the local term for non-Amish people – what most other Amish would call “English”. There is an interesting backstory to why the Geauga Amish use “Yankee” for the rest of us – explained at the video here.

There are a ton of photos from the game by Bill Fugate, which you can view here. It looks like mostly younger Amish guys take part, but I did spot one or two beards in the game – and there were certainly some among the spectators.

DDC Executive Director Eli Miller had this to say about the event:

“Both teams, the Amish and Yankee teams, came out after working all day and just played their hearts out,” Miller said. “Competitive, but at the same time it’s more about raising money for DDC Clinic. So we certainly appreciate them, all the sweat and everything that went into the game. It was a great game (and) both sides had close scores, so it was great to see.”

You don’t too often see Amish adults involved in public sporting events (see here for more on Amish and sports), though it sometimes happens, both as participants and spectators. This is another nice example of that. Here’s more on supporting the DDC Clinic.

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