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Thanksgiving football: Annual Point Place game played

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    The 50th anniversary of the Kielbasa Bowl in Point Place, Toledo, Ohio on November 23, 2017.

    The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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    Bill Dziengelewski now of Columbus, looking at the MVP trophy. His family is one of the originators of the annual event.

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    Community members gather Thursday for the 50th Annual Kielbasa Bowl in Point Place.

    The Blade/Allison Reamer
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    Lance Crosby, of Toledo, John Hales, Brian Cromwell, and Zach Woods during the game.

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    Ryker Crosby, 5, on the sidelines during the game.

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    Members of the Recker, Durbins and Barriger families who helped to statr this tradtion with the Dziengelewski family.

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    Boys and men line up to play in the game.

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Community-members-gather-for-annual-football-game

Community members gather Thursday for the 50th Annual Kielbasa Bowl in Point Place.

The Blade/Allison Reamer
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Six-year-old Hudson Misch stood on the sidelines Thursday, watching his father play in an annual Point Place Thanksgiving morning football game. 

The 50th Annual Kielbasa Bowl kicked off Thursday at Harry Kessler Park in Point Place. Family and friends cheered on their favorite players. 

Including Hudson. 

His mother, Trish Misch, bundled him in snow pants, a heavy coat, and wrapped a scarf around his neck to keep in warm in the near 35 degree temperatures.

“His dad’s been doing it ever since he was a little boy and it’s the first time [Hudson] has been old enough to come watch it. I can’t get him to leave,” Mrs. Misch said, as her son watched, almost mesmerized by the players tossing the football to each other. 

Community members gathered, exchanging hugs while the players warmed up by stretching. Others set up one of the most important part of the day — the kielbasa — which is devoured during halftime. That tradition started around 30 years ago, but on Thursday, there were even T-shirts available with the Kielbasa Bowl printed on the front. 

Playing rain or shine, sleet or snow, the football game started in 1967 by Bobby Recker and Bernie Dziengelewski as a tackle pick-up football game. It was an outlet for Point Place football talent. 

“Our moms wanted us out of the house,” said Gary Recker, 62, who began playing in the annual game when he was 13. 

Out of all the games he’s played, now he sits on the sidelines, calling out plays and cheering on the players. 

Several in the community have kept the tradition alive. 

“At the end of the day, these kind of traditions are the very traditions that make Toledo where you know you will do better. This is something that is really special to a lot of families and it’s these traditions that make neighborhoods,” said Councilman Lindsay Webb, who sponsored a resolution recognizing the the Kielbasa Bowl’s 50th anniversary. 

Each year, the MVP trophy, called “The Hodger” is handed out. The trophy is brought back each year. While important, the sense of community is really what it’s about, Mr. Recker said.

“Back in the day, it was but now, it’s just all this. Come on, look at how much fun everyone’s having,” Mr. Recker said pointing at everyone in the park.

Contact Allison Reamer at areamer@theblade.com, 419-724-6506 or on Twitter @AllisonRBlade.

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