In 2013, Rhett Grametbauer embarked on a road trip in a VW Bus to visit every NFL stadium in the nation. In the midst of this adventure, the founder of the Play Catch Movement rediscovered his passion for playing catch, and began to understand the physical and psychological benefits that this activity provides.
Read the rest of the Play Catch Story below.
Rhett always loved playing sports. Baseball and football were as much a part of his childhood as ice cream and waiting for the school bus. Often, the time spent waiting for the bus and another long day of school involved playing catch with classmates. He seemed to think that the enjoyment of playing catch was contagious, and willed others to want to play with him. Rhett became good enough to play baseball in high school and a little in college, but soon the business of life would keep his glove and ball on the shelf more than it wasn’t.
Fast forward to that trip across the country, and Rhett was standing under the St. Louis Arch, passing the time before a Thursday Night Football game. He was approached by a random stranger who asked to throw the football with him, and the idea of the Play Catch Movement was born. Rhett felt firsthand the joy and connection that playing catch provides to people who may have no other common interest than enjoying the day by playing catch. After that chance encounter, Rhett began playing catch at other landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon, and wherever his travels took him. The experience was always the same. People having fun and connecting through the game of catch.
After returning home, Rhett started the Play Catch Foundation to encourage everyone to play catch, and to provide those in need with the necessary equipment, including a partner, so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a game of catch. He also applied to designate one day as National Play Catch Day. The National Day Calendar turned down his request for a single day because, in their opinion, the idea actually deserved an entire week. National Play Catch Week is now the third full week in June, so that it always includes Father’s Day.
National Play Catch Week is a great time to enjoy the green grass, summer sun, and have fun playing catch. However, the Play Catch Movement is more than one week out of the year. We encourage everyone to play catch every day. The results, like some of the play catch stories featured on our website, can be life-changing. The Play Catch Movement can be implemented in schools, youth groups, and even elder care. We believe that George Bernard Shaw said it best, “We do not stop playing (catch) because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing (catch).” Maybe he had catch in mind when he made such a profound statement; either way, playing catch can help everyone, from young children to seniors. The Play Catch Movement is created to help encourage, inspire, and motivate everyone to never grow old.
More recently, the Play Catch Movement has partnered with Nokona American Ballgloves (www.nokona.com ), a company with a rich heritage in America’s pastime, that shares the common values of community, personal connections, and – of course – baseball! Nokona is supporting the Play Catch Movement to encourage people to get out and play, and to help spread the word about the experiences of connection, confidence, and joy that are all part of playing catch.
Please contact us to find out how your school, youth group, company, or organization can participate in the Play Catch Movement. We are always interested in hearing your Play Catch stories and sharing them with others so that they can find inspiration and motivation to play catch themselves. Share your story with us.