I’ve worked in Radio and Television on air for much of the last 18 years in Bangor, and I’ve always kicked around the idea of using my name to do some sort of a fund raiser to help out a local charity, but never really knew what to do or what organization to support. Then my middle child was born in June 2004. At 9 weeks old she had her first surgery, and it started a slew of medical procedures and surgeries, doctors visits, appointments with specialists and so on. None of her issues were ever life threatening, she never even had to spend an overnight in a hospital. But it was still scary. And I saw parents who were in the hospital with their kids who would never come home, and it ripped my heart out.
So I decided to do something for the Make A Wish foundation. I knew they helped out kids who were sick get the one thing they wanted the most, whether it was a trip to Disney, or to see a Celtics game, or to even have a swimming pool to help them with therapy or to cool down on a hot day because their bodies couldn’t do it for themselves. Make A Wish brings a smile to kids who don’t have a lot to smile about.
Now that was 6 years ago. I kicked the idea around for a while, and finally in 2009 my wife told me to shut up and do it. Quit talking and do it. So I did it. I made a couple phone calls to friends and asked if they would be interested in playing in a charity tournament. Every one of them said yes, and started calling their friends. In a couple of months I organized the tournament, had sponsors lined up to buy equipment and supplies, purchased trophies and signed up 15 teams for the first ever event. And to top it off we had a Make A Wish family on hand to throw out our first pitch.
The day of the tournament was the day the remnants of Tropical Storm Danny rolled through Eastern Maine. It poured all day long. No one backed out. Everyone showed and we played in the rain and wind and cold temps for 12 hours. It was awesome. And we raised $2000 for Make A Wish. (It was really 1800 something dollars and I kicked in the rest to get us to an even number).
Then in 2010, word spread, teams from 2 hours south and 2 hours north of here traveled to play, we doubled our entries and had 30 teams playing, and we added a prize raffle, a 50/50 raffle, t-shirt sales and raised $5550 in our second year. The average Wish costs $6000, so we were just short of taking care of one child’s dream on our own.
That is our goal for 2011, raise a minimum of $6000 and put a smile on the face of one kid all by ourselves.
This year we’re opening the tournament up to a maximum of 48 teams. Registration begins May 1st, 2011. The Tournament is going to be Saturday August 20th, 2011 in Bangor, Maine. It’s also the same day the Senior Little League holds their World Championship Game in Bangor, it’s actually going to be just a few miles away from our event. If we get the 48 teams I think I’ll open it up into at least two divisions and maybe three so the skill levels will be similar.
We have some teams that are very serious and practice, we have some teams that just want to show up and have a good time and raise money, and we have some that fall in the middle.
The entry fee is $100 per team. You can have One Pitcher and up to Three fielders in the game at a time, with up to five people in your batting order, but if a person plays the field they have to hit. We have 7 spots on our roster in case someone has to leave early or arrive late you have some flexibility, most teams use 4 people, some use 5.
We’ll have a home run derby this year $5 for 10 swings, we’ll have another 50/50 and prize raffle, T-shirts for sale again, and concessions.
All of the rules are posted on our website www.wiffleforawish.com, and there is a video from last year and photos and results from each of our two tournaments.
It has grown bigger and faster than I imagined. It is simply overwhelming to think of how this has evolved from an idea to this reality.
Thanks again for the interest, if you have any questions let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them, if you know of anyone who wants to play they can contact me through this e-mail or through the website contact tab.