ESSEX, Vt. - A well-known set of mini-baseball fields in Essex, Vt. has been sold to a foundation with a special connection to the Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams baseball fields.
The Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament has been held in Vermont every year for 16 years to benefit people with spinal cord injuries.
"We've got three fields here, 34 teams,” said Travis Roy, the foundation’s namesake, who suffered a hockey career-ending spinal injury in 1995. “It's incredible, I mean people drive from California, fly over from England. People get addicted to this place, it's a special place. It's just humbling, it's exciting, we've got a lot of exciting plans with the Travis Roy Foundation and our research."
The Foundation, and the corresponding tournament, are meant to spread awareness about the people who suffer these injuries.
"Just the most basic things, you know. When you're laying in bed at night and you can't pull your sheet down and you're hot, having to rely on someone to come in and get you up for the day,” said Roy. “I just couldn't lay there without hoping that someday there will be a better day. That's what makes the long days easier."
The owner the property, which houses the beloved “Little” fields, sold it to the Travis Roy Foundation.
“We needed to put together a long term plan,” said Pat O’Connor, the owner. “And we needed to make sure these fields could continue to grow, continue to impact those that really needed our help. And the best way to do that was to sell the property to the foundation. That's the house, the fields, everything, and then to work with them over the next few years."
“It's going to secure the future of the tournament for the foreseeable future,” said Roy. “It would be scary if it weren't for the loyalty that our players have shown, and the incredible committee that puts this together.
O’Connor says the Foundation didn’t just buy the property, it bought into the model for the tournament which includes all the dedicated resources.
“We are so blessed to live in a community that gives back so much,” said O’Connor.
“They call it the best weekend of the year,” said Roy. “And I think if you talk to anybody out there playing, and really there's a lot of people in the stands, come Sunday afternoon people are thinking about next year.
The Tournament has raised more than half a million dollars this year.
It continues Sunday with the championship game.
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