For the past 20 years, the Travis Roy Foundation has held their annual WIFFLE Ball tournament in Jericho, VT at three scaled down replica fields of Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Field of Dreams. After the passing of its founder Travis Roy in 2020, the Foundation decided to sponsor one last tournament in 2021 as a farewell as the Foundation would be closing its doors and transitioning from an active fundraising organization to an endowment fund. After the announcement, several teams who have been coming to Vermont every summer for nearly two decades decided they wanted to honor Travis’ legacy by starting a new tournament, Next Shift WIFFLE ball tournament, to raise money for spinal cord injured survivors.
Steve Wilk, Founder of Neutral Zone, LLC stepped up to the plate and agreed to sponsor the tournament and cover costs so that teams could focus their attention on raising money for Travis’ endowment.
“Travis meant so much to us and to so many people,” said Wilk. “He termed the TRF event as the ‘Best Weekend of the Year’ and we want to honor that tradition with a new tournament, to have a great weekend honoring Travis and his life’s work and to raise money for spinal cord injured survivors. Travis’ passing has left a big void in the spinal cord community and we, as a tournament, just want to do our part to help fill it.”
This fall Jake Thibeault, a high school student out of Milton Academy and aspiring college hockey player, was tragically paralyzed in a hockey game. Jake had met Travis years prior and attended one of his motivational talks but he had passed before Jake’s accident.
“Jake’s journey is in many ways similar to Travis,” said Brendan Collins, Director of Scouting at NZ and Travis Roy’s cousin. “When I met with Jake and his family after the accident I felt like I was looking at Travis 25 years ago. It motivated us even further to pick up the torch Travis left to help Jake and other spinal cord injured survivors in the future.”
The tournament will have up to 24 teams in honor of Travis’ number at Boston University and take place on June 24-26th in Jericho, VT. The games are 7-innings with baseball rules and live umpires and announcers.
There are still a few openings for teams so if you are interested in putting a team together for the tournament please contact Brendan Collins at (firstname.lastname@example.org).