WHO WE ARE
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.
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 eldercare. 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.
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.
NATIONAL PLAY CATCH WEEK
MEET OUR TEAMMATES
Ethan D. Bryan is a storyteller whose narratives explore what it means to live a good story.
At the age of six, he lost all of his hair due to an immune-system disorder called alopecia. Ethan knows about overcoming personal obstacles and being bullied. He also understands the power of hope, persevering through hundreds upon hundreds of manuscript rejections.
The author of ten books, his writings earned him an opportunity to speak at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an invitation to the White House for the Royals World Series championship, and endorsements from several former MLB players including Jim “The Rookie” Morris.
Ethan has appeared ever so briefly in an ESPN 30-for-30 (#BringBackSungWoo) and as a background ballplayer in an Emmy-award winning documentary (First Boys of Spring). He still dreams of playing baseball (throwing out a first pitch) for his beloved KC Royals.
A major fan of both Dr Pepper and donuts, Ethan was one of the best benchwarmers on his high school junior varsity baseball team.
Ethan played catch every single day of 2018, an effort that came to be known as Catch 365.
Matt Somerlot loves to volunteer and devote his time to creating lasting and impactful connections within his community. He has first-hand experience with the transformational power of playing catch at both ends of the age spectrum and believes in the healing benefits it provides to all ages.
He is convinced that the simple game of catch can truly change the world by helping develop meaningful, productive, and positive traits. Living in Marietta, GA with his wife and two kids, he is a proud lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and is probably still celebrating their World Series win.
Jeff Potter has had a love for baseball since he was a little boy playing baseball in the small town of Ellwood City, PA, about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Fast forward through farm league, little league, pony league, colt league, high school, legion ball, and a very short minor league baseball experience with the Detroit Tigers, Jeff still loves the game of baseball.
Since 2010, Jeff has run the Potter Baseball Tour for about 5 weeks every summer. Last summer Jeff initiated a virtual Playing Catch event during his Potter Baseball Tour which was quite successful. He is excited to partner with the Playing Catch Movement this summer to create an incredible experience for thousands and thousands of people. Jeff has also taken youth baseball teams to Cooperstown each year since 2009 and is the proud author of three books; “Whatever Happened to Baseball?”, “Saving Baseball”, and “Far from Being Done”.
Eric Potter grew up with a passion for baseball with many memories of playing catch with his dad growing up. That passion was sparked when his son, Brett, asked him one day to play catch. It turned into several years of coaching youth baseball to share his passion with anyone he could.
Brett has as much passion for the game as his dad. He was born with dwarfism, which may look on the outside like it has challenges but Brett has never let it hold him back and has been able to accomplish everything he has set his mind to. He is currently a sophomore in high school playing on his school’s baseball team.
The father and son duo have made memories across the country with a simple game of catch. In 2014, they set out to play catch at every MLB ballpark using the same ball. The journey took over 5 years but they toured the country wearing the Kansas City Royals attire and doing what they love. Along the way, they met many lifelong friends that they still keep in touch with today.