By Nancy Price
Ted Kitchel, a former IU basketball player, sports analyst and Center Grove resident, is raising money to help find a cure for a disease he was diagnosed with several years ago: Parkinson’s.
Surprisingly, “I’m not really much different than four years ago when I was diagnosed,” Kitchel said. Along with taking his medicine, he credits a workout routine, which includes Rock Steady Boxing three days a week, along with stretches and lifting small weights, to help slow the progression of the disease. “I think that’s been very good for me. I encourage (people with Parkinson’s) to stay active,” he said.
A year ago, Kitchel and his family discussed the possibility of starting a foundation for Parkinson’s research. Three months ago, the Ted Kitchel Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund began to organize their first fundraiser, a golf outing at Valla Vista Golf Club and Conference Center Aug 26. Despite steady rain throughout the day, friends, family and acquaintances came out in droves to support the fundraiser, which raised a total of $42,000, more than double of their original goal.
For more information, go to Facebook: Ted Kitchel Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund, or Instagram: @tedkitchel_forparkinsons. To donate, go to myiu.org/one-time-gift. From there, go to “search all funds” and type in “Ted Kitchel Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund.” If you choose to write a check, please write “IU Foundation – School of Medicine” and on the description line, write “Ted Kitchel Parkinson’s Fund.” Please send checks to: School of Medicine, PO Box 7072, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7072.
What is your greatest virtue? I am a great competitor. I compete very, very hard at what I do, whether it’s basketball, football, golf, or Euchre.
What upsets you? Laziness or people who don’t give 100 percent. I feel that everyone should give their best, especially sports. Having played for Bob Knight, probably the greatest coach of all time, you always gave your best in practice every day. You were practicing extremely hard every day, trying to improve. I like to see someone who gives supreme effort.
What do you like best about Center Grove? It’s very family-friendly; it is a large community, yet there is a small community type of feeling.
What’s your favorite Southside eatery? One of my favorites is Skyline Chili. Having lived in Cincinnati for 13 years, my kids and I used to go. I’m a spaghetti guy anyway and like the added spices. Texas Roadhouse is my wife and I’s favorite.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? Zionsville. You drive though this little town; it’s a small-town feel. My brother and his family live there, the school system’s fantastic and its sports team is very competitive. It’s a good community.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? If anything, I wish I could have played professionally a little bit. (Kitchel sustained injuries while playing collegiately for IU-Bloomington in the late 70s and early 80s.) Other than that, nothing. I have a great family; my dad is 84 and still farms full time, I marked my 36th wedding anniversary (on day of the golf tournament/fundraiser), I have great kids with great jobs. My oldest son got married 1 ½ years ago, they have a baby on the way due Thanksgiving Day.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? First and foremost, church. I always feel like God comes first. It’s His money no matter what. He’s provided for you. Other than that, I’d buy things for my friends and family and help people in need. I think it’s great when people have money and are able to share it. Ray Skillman does a great job of sharing, for the school corporation. His name’s on stadiums. He doesn’t have to; he just does it and I think that’s a tremendous thing.
What makes you happiest? Seeing my kids succeed and overcome things in their lives. We are happy to see them succeed and to be successful and just be happy.
Pick three adjectives that best describe you. Competitive; a winner; determined.
What is your favorite vacation spot? My boys and I went to Ireland and played golf a few years ago. We had the times of our lives with nine of our friends playing golf. If traveling with my whole family, someplace with a beach. One of our favorite places is Hilton Head. The goys and I can play golf and my wife and daughters play golf or lay out on the beach.
What do you do with idle time? I’m an avid sports watcher. That means everything: NFL football, NCAA women’s volleyball, women’s US open tennis and poker. I’m an avid reader. I like to read a lot of biographies and nonfiction type of stuff. I’ve always been a reader; Coach Knight thought reading would help with verbal skills. He always said the most intelligent people read all the time.
What would you change about our culture if you could? To have some common sense. All common sense has gone away in our world and in our country; hopefully we can change that.
How do you escape from reality? I like to play golf with my boys. They’re both very good players. When I go home at night, I watch sports and there’s no answering the phone. Your phone’s with you all the time and it’s beeping and buzzing. I turn off the phone and slow down a little bit.
What do you love most in life? That there’s a God with a loving heart. My wife and my family. To have had a great upbringing with a great mom and dad. To have grown up in a small town.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire? Ray Skillman. He’s a small-town guy from Owesnburg, KY and he grew up with not a lot. What he’s done with his life and all he’s done to help out, with high schools and everything he does.
What is your greatest extravagance? My wife. She’s deserving. We are very different type of people but enjoy life together.
What is your greatest fear? Failure. It’s not so much that I love to win, but I hate to lose.
What has been the happiest time of your life? Playing basketball at IU. There I was enjoying success on my own. I have tremendous happiness watching my kids grow and compete. As an individual, succeeding, reaching high levels, especially reaching levels I couldn’t reach. I loved people telling me I couldn’t and loved saying, “I could.” Watching your kids succeed and compete is big but then even now watching them be successful and in families and as they grow. As a family, we’re had a lot of great successes too. Helping each other through good and bad times.
Is there a special talent you really wish you had? I think I have a lot of special talents, so I don’t feel like I need any more, I think the good Lord has presented me with a lot of opportunities in life. For a small-town guy I think I’ve been very fortunate.
What do you most value in your friends? They don’t judge me for what I should be or what I drive or where I live. They’re my friends.
Which historical figure do you most admire? Jesus Christ.
What tenet do you live by? The Golden Rule: treat those the same way you would like to be treated.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? They would probably be a little surprised that I’m emotional. If you’re competing against or with me, you wouldn’t know that.