The third Annual Liam G. Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament kicks off June 9th, 2023 in Fargo, North Dakota. Liam Medd was the funny, sweet, smart, thoughtful, beloved son of our friends, Todd and Elizabeth Medd – and his death by suicide at age 15 came completely out of left field. Since that horrible, horrible day, Todd and Elizabeth have worked tirelessly to reach out to area children, teenagers, and their families to encourage conversations around mental health and suicide prevention (for example, here’s a fact Elizabeth told me not too long ago: 25% of people who attempted suicide spend less than five minutes between the decision and the actual attempt; and for 75% of the rest, the thought and decision are less than an hour apart).
While the topic of suicide is typically heavy and difficult, the Liam G. Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament is the total opposite – fun, happy, and a way for kids to celebrate the sport and good sportsmanship, while also learning a little bit about positive mental health along the way. Elizabeth kindly answered a few questions about the tournament and the 4 6 3 Foundation (their family foundation) – check it out:
Why did you choose to host a baseball tournament?
Liam loved baseball. After he died, we were presented with the opportunity to host a tournament, in partnership with Fargo Youth Baseball, in his honor. We knew it wasn’t enough to just name the tournament after him; it was important to us and to those involved that this tournament make a difference and bring conversations about mental health and suicide prevention to youth and their parents in a setting that was comfortable and neutral. The 4 6 3 Foundation works to meet youth in the places that mean the most to them: in this case, on their playing field. These conversations can be difficult and scary, but when we can bring the conversations to where they are we can break down some of that stigma and reduce some of the fear that comes with these topics.
What are you most excited about regarding the tournament?
I always love the opening ceremonies. It’s really cool to see all the players in their positions standing with each other, coming together, emphasizing that you are never alone.
I am also partial to the Sportsmanship Awards. After each game, a player from each team is selected by the opposing team for exhibiting good sportsmanship. I love giving those young men their awards and being able to thank them for playing the game of baseball with integrity; it’s incredibly moving. Some of the best moments from the tournament have come from the exchange at home plate with those awards. Liam played the game with hustle, grit, attitude – but, most importantly, he played with integrity. Liam cherished not only the sport itself, but the camaraderie of the dugout.
Is the tournament open to the public? If so, what can a first-time attendee expect?
The tournament is open to the public and is $10 for the entire weekend. Games will be played all day Friday at Tharaldson Baseball Complex and Anderson Complex, and all day Saturday at those same fields, as well as at Bucky Burgau Baseball Field at Concordia. Games will conclude Sunday at Tharaldson and Anderson.
We also are having 4 6 3 Foundation Suicide Prevention Night with the FM RedHawks on Saturday, June 10th. Fans can pre-purchase tickets, and if they enter promo code “463” at checkout, $2 out of every ticket purchased will be donated back to the 4 6 3 Foundation (plus, the first 500 kids 12 and under get a free Hawkeye pillowcase!). You can click here to purchase tickets.
Additionally, if families, individuals, or organizations would like to become a sponsor for the tournament in 2024, they can email me here for more information.
What do you hope the players and teams take away from the tournament?
Aside from having a great baseball experience, we hope players, teams, and families come away with a better understanding of mental health and suicide and that they start having regular conversations about some difficult topics. We will have resources available all weekend for players and families to take with them and use. Suicide is an epidemic, not just in our community, but across the country. The goal of this tournament is to normalize conversations around mental health and suicide. We want to connect with youth where they are, doing the things they love, with those tools and resources to reduce stigma, build hope, and end suicide.
What’s next for the 4 6 3 Foundation?
After the tournament ends, we will take a couple weeks off and then the committee gets back to planning for the next year. We just wrapped up filming with Sanford for an event they are hosting at the end of June, the Sanford Blueway Gala. We are also working on the next PSA in our series in partnership with Fargo Police Department and Fargo Cass Public Health. We have created two PSAs so far – both can be found on our website – and we have several more in the works. If there is an opportunity for us to speak with youth – through youth groups, sports teams, any kind of group – I am always excited for those events.
(A quick note from Amanda: If you want to learn more about the 4 6 3 Foundation, click here. For more on the tournament, click here.)