On a beautiful Sunday at Benedetti Diamond at Max Ulrich Field, 16 deserving flag football teams entered – but only one left victorious. The sixth Theta Touchdown fundraiser, put on by Kappa Alpha Theta, raised over $2,000 for the San Francisco chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. Taking home the championship were the Hilltop Alphas, a team made up primarily of brothers from the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapters of USF and San Francisco State University.
Not to be confused with the Center for Academic and Student Achievement at USF, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) is a program devoted to finding and training volunteers to become legal advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care. Children in foster care often deal with issues beyond the scope of children living with their biological parents, such as court dates, visits with their parents and meetings with their case workers. CASA appoints a community member to serve as the child’s representative in all these situations, as well as in more tradition children’s issues, like doctors appointments and meetings with teachers. A CASA advocate becomes a non-parental adult ally for a foster child. Advocates almost always work with only one child for years at a time.
“Theta Touchdown seems to be a winner,” said junior Adule Dajani, who was in charge of organizing the event for Kappa Alpha Theta, a women’s fraternity often misrepresented as a sorority. “We might try out a couple of other events, to see what makes the most money for philanthropy, but this one seems to have stuck.”
Teams in last Sunday’s tournament each paid a $49 entry fee ($7 per person) to participate. In addition, tickets were sold to those who wanted to watch the event from the seats in Benedetti Diamond for $3 each. Kappa Alpha Theta also sold snacks to contribute to the fundraiser.
In a twist, the rules for this tournament broke from traditional flag football rules. Rather than two halves, teams played one 15 minute period on a 50 foot by 150 foot field. In the boldest deviation from football, scoring was kept on an interval of one, rather than the traditional six plus one or two scoring system. A common final score was four to three, or three to two. If not for the redemptive charitable qualities of the event, Vince Lombardi would surely be rolling in his grave.
Playing under the challenge of the new rules, it came down to the Hilltop Alphas and PhiDelt1 in the championship game. At least nine of the 16 teams represented greek life, including a team from the Delta Zeta sorority and three teams from Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Both the Hilltop Alphas and PhiDelt1 came in riding the momentum from their prolific passing offenses and lockdown defense. Every team needed a strong passing offense to find any success, as each team only had four downs to travel the length of the field each drive.
With just a few minutes left to play, the game was tied at two scores each. The Hilltop Alphas’ Shaun Stevenson, a junior at SFSU, veritably put the team on his back and carried them to victory. In the final three drives of the game, Stevenson caught two touchdowns on offense and picked off PhiDelt1 in the endzone to ward off a late comeback.
“Theta Touchdown is a great event, the ladies did a wonderful job,” Stevenson said, speaking after his self-proclaimed MVP performance. “That’s really the biggest thing, that we all come out here, have fun and make a bigger community.”
“Kappa Alpha Theta’s long-term partnership means a great deal to San Francisco CASA, and every student contribution directly supports one-on-one mentoring and advocacy for San Francisco’s foster youth,” said Renee Espinoza, executive director of SF CASA. For more information about SF CASA, visit sfcasa.org.