ARGYLE — A charity event will be held this weekend to honor an Argyle teen remembered as a “gentle giant” who didn’t say much but had an impactful presence.
The Shoot for the Stars charity event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the Argyle High School gym.
Participants will be asked to collectively make 13,035 free throws continuously through 6 p.m. Saturday at four basketball goals.
The 13 represents Alex Betzhold’s age at the time of his death; 35 signifies his basketball number; and the four goals represents the number of immediate family members he left behind.
The seventh-grader died unexpectedly Jan. 17. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that his death was caused by concentric left ventricular hypertrophy, or an enlarged wall around his heart’s left pumping chamber.
“We wanted to plan an event that was a love and passion of Alex,” said Julie Sheridan, an event organizer and a Betzhold family friend. “I think this keeps his memory alive.”
A straight-A student, Betzhold played trumpet, excelled in University Interscholastic League “number sense” math contests and was active in his church youth group. He was an offensive and defensive lineman on his school’s football team, played baseball and played the post position for the school’s basketball team.
Betzhold had dreams of one day becoming an NBA player.
“Gentle giant” is a term people often have used when describing Alex, said Sheridan, who once was his basketball coach in the Argyle PIPs basketball skills program.
“He didn’t say much, … but when he did, he really spoke to people,” she said. “He was just a presence in the lane, and he was confident and people looked to him as a leader.”
Steve Sheridan, Julie’s husband and co-organizer for the benefit, said Betzhold “was quiet but everybody noticed when he wasn’t there.” He said he has tried to plan an event that Alex would have wanted to participate in.
Several people have signed up to participate in this weekend’s festivities, the Sheridans said, and they expect about 300 or more to attend Friday and Saturday.
Also, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the nonprofit organization Living for Zachary will offer free heart screenings for ages 12 to 22. Appointments are required by calling 1-855-849-8378.
A “Beat the Babe” free throw shooting contest will feature former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and KTVT-TV (Channel 11) sports anchor Babe Laufenberg from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The event also will feature live and silent auctions with more than 80 items to bid on, including sports memorabilia donated by the Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, PGA Tour golfers and former NFL players, and items autographed by people including John Travolta, John Grisham, Warren Buffett, Colin Powell, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Chuck Norris and Kirk Douglas.
A community event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday featuring an inspirational speaker and a “celebrity” basketball game. All events will take place at Argyle High School, 191 S. U.S. Highway 377.
Alex’s mother, Mary Betzhold, said she was honored by how the Argyle community has supported the family.
“We deeply appreciate Steve and Julie Sheridan for organizing this event, and we are grateful for the tremendous community support it has inspired,” she said. “This event captures Alex’s love for competition, achievement and fun with friends and family. We are honored that our son’s life, in death, has moved people closer to Christ, and we celebrate that he is with our father in heaven.”
Proceeds collected this weekend benefit the Alex Betzhold Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Through the fund, a scholarship will go to a graduating Argyle senior.
Admission is $5 and includes a “Shoot for the Stars” wristband and eligibility for drawings and prizes.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .