Softball Tourney Continues Rossi Legacy

Ryan Rossi, pictured here in El Salvador, lost his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Dec. 11, 2011. (photo by Taso Papadakis)

Leaving a footprint, a legacy, a lasting impression will at some point cross the mind of each person on this earth. For some though, it’s just a thought. And for others, sadly, it is a thought they won’t see brought to reality.

For Ryan Rossi, it was a dream, a dream that before his tragic death became reality. A dream, that six months after his death, is still living on, along with his legacy through the hard work and dedication of his family, friends and community.

Rossi, a devoted musician and semi professional soccer player, died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Dec. 11, 2011, but not before starting a legacy that is continuing on.

20k Watts, an Artist Eco Alliance, started by Rossi, his father Leo Rossi, and fellow musician JR Richards, was founded after a trip to El Salvador where the the site of the conditions people lived in struck a cord so deep that not helping wasn’t an option.

After their trip they described some of what they saw, saying that the hospital walls were covered in an oily film from kerosene lamps. That hundreds of children were suffering from respiratory problems that not only affects the quality of their life, but the length.

It wasn’t until they landed back in California, that they had a plan — they were going to eradicate the use of kerosene lamps in the villages of El Salvador.

The outlet to raise the money was close to their hearts — music.

Two months after inception, and going strong with their aim to replace the kerosene lamps with renewable energy lamps, tragedy struck. Rossi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but the diagnosis didn’t halt the cause, or Rossi for that matter.

His motto, “Just Love It,” and his remarkable passion and spirit kept Rossi going. He worked through the good days and the bad, and battled the best he could and through it all remained fully committed to the cause.

Rossi made it clear that he didn’t want to be mourned, he wanted to be celebrated. This prompted his friends, family and community to hold a charity concert in his honor — another example of Rossi’s passion to give back.

But the community wasn’t done yet.

Rossi’s uncle, Mike Durbin, who has played in every charity softball tournament in the area, wanted to a host a tournament for his nephew. And that’s exactly what he did. He held a small charity tournament in January, that raised enough money to replace lamps, and relight up 10 villages in El Salvador.

“It was such a great success that I knew immediately that we would do it annually,” said Durbin. “But we didn’t want to wait until January, we wanted to have a big summer party for Ryan.”

Under the same name, the “Ryan Rossi ‘Just Love It’ Summer Bash Co-Ed Softball Tournament” will take place on July 14 and 15 at Stevenson Park in Carson.

It will be a 16-team, double elimination tournament, that will start at 8 a.m. on both days. There are still spots available for teams to enter.

In addition to the softball, there will also be a DJ, raffles, jump houses for the children and plenty of food, including authentic El Salvadorian cuisine from Tala’s Restaurant, which will donate a portion of their proceeds to 20K Watts.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate someone’s life than getting friends and family together and playing softball for a cause that is so great,” Durbin said. “We are so thankful for everyone in the community that has donated or gotten involved in any way, shape or form. This is really a great cause and we appreciate all the help.” spt

For more information about the tournament or the cause, to get involved, donate or sponsor a team, please contact Mike Durbin at (310) 218-8371 or e-mail him at DaddyDurb@hotmail.com.