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On September 24th -25th and October 1st and 2nd , Greater Atlanta Telugu Organizaion (GATA) organized what will be remembered as an admirable and selfless act of humanitarianism. The event was an effort to raise funds to promote awareness about Autism and how it affects families within our communities. One in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism so the need to educate and understand is imperative as it relates to this sensitive subject.
The initiative kicked off at the Sai Murali restaurant on September 22nd; during which time, 27 teams were registered and schedules were finalized. On September 24th, the day of the first round of matches, there was a prayer to Lord Ganesh during the opening ceremony. The matches took place at EE Robinson Park in Sugar Hill, Georgia. The grandeur of the park was reminiscent of Wankhede Stadium which hosted the World Cup finals. If you closed your eyes and listened as Girish Meka provided commentary, you would not have been faulted for thinking you were at a professional cricket match. There was music, laughter, food and more than enough fun for everyone in attendance. With over 270 participants in the tournament and hundreds more enjoying the festivities, it is safe to say that the GATA event was an astonishing success.
The finals were held on October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti. Narender Reddy and Professor Ranga Rao were the special guests and played for the first six balls. The batting and bowling was a heartfelt moment for them as it sparked a memory of gully cricket which they both enjoyed in their younger days. Later, Reddy graciously agreed to perform the coin toss for the final match between Corpteq Indians and Monsters; whose captains were Sujith Taneeru and Sanjay Narla respectively.
Since Corpteq won the toss, they were first to bat and made 53 in 10 overs match with 4 wickets down. You could feel the tension and excitement in the air! The Monsters started the match and were struggling with 7 runs in 2 overs and one wicket down. Initially, it seemed as though the outcome was pretty obvious but the Monsters rallied and ignited what ultimately became a thrilling game down to the last moment. The turning point was when Yogi pulled the weary Monsters from 3 X 6’s, to 27 at 5 overs! The match was completed in the 9th and the Monsters were victorious. You had to be there to witness the jubilance and camaraderie on display during the GATA 2011 Cricket Championship.
The prize distribution ceremony was conducted by Siva Mattipalli, GATA Chief Coordinator. He elaborated the GATA’s objective by conducting the day and night Cricket matches for a noble charity cause and thanked all the umpires and volunteers for their hard work and effort.
Narender Reddy presented a trophy and certificate to the first place team; and, Professor Ranga Rao presented awards to the runner up team. The Man of the Match award was presented to Yogi, of the Monsters team, by Srinivas Muniganti. The GATA team recognition awards were presented to Gireesh R Meka and Prasheel Gukanti for Planning and organizing such a noteworthy and spectacular event by Goutham Goli, CEO of Rapid IT Incorporated; and, Narender Reddy respectively. The Chief Guest Narender Reddy thanked everyone involved in this effort and recognized that this is first event of its kind addressing Autistic children by an Indian Nonprofit organization. He concluded by congratulating all of the teams for playing for such a noble cause.
In closing, Professor Ranga Rao noted that on the birthday Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi; holding a charity event of this magnitude is a testament to the good nature of mankind. He continued by mentioning how valuable sports are to the mind, body and soul; and before adjourning, he left us with a quote Swami Vivekananda” As body, mind, or soul, you are a dream; you really are Being, Consciousness, Bliss (satchidananda). You are the God of this universe. “
Special acknowledgements were addressed by Dr. Tangirala Satyanarayana Reddy in which he voiced his gratitude toward GATA, the event, and all of its participants. Truly, it was a memorable event and we are eagerly looking forward to next year in hopes of raising the bar.
The event was adjourned by singing the Indian national anthem “Jana Gana Mana”.