Published in the June 24, 2019 edition.

STONEHAM — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield’s fourth annual Dodging for Dollars event exceeded its original fundraising goal of $50,000, raising a grand total of $62,000 to support local youth.

The record-breaking continued as the event involved a cumulative 400 dodgeball players from 44 teams and collected over 1,400 unique donations to make Dodging for Dollars the most successful event yet.

Stakes were at an all-time high as old rivalries reared their heads, new rivalries formed, and rookie teams upset legends over the course of ten dodgeball-packed days.

Per usual, the inter-town matchups resulted in some of the most intense games: In the Stoneham Leaders vs. Wakefield Leaders game, things came down to the wire as the Stoneham Leaders barely edged a win against their competitors.

Former Stoneham Select Board Member Anthony Wilson had this to say about Stoneham’s win:

“It is awesome that Stoneham Leaders won again against the Wakefield Leaders. Stoneham now has three Dodgeball trophies against Wakefield! But the real winners are the kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield. The Clubs provide a much needed service to the community and to our children. Their programs, ranging from art to computer programming to woodworking, are educational and fun for the club members. It was a pleasure to play and good to know we were helping to raise funds for programs. I look forward to a fourth trophy next year.”

Nicole Nial, President of the Stoneham School Committee joined in the celebration.

“I’ll just say this: there are very few organizations that could get me to set foot on a dodgeball court. However in all seriousness, I am proud to be a part of a community in which so many people are willing to go out of their way to support kids. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield does exceptional work for the youth of our towns and I am always excited to be a part of that in any capacity.”

Wakefield Leaders’ team member Gerard Leeman responded gracefully to the loss.

“Where else can you be motivated by so many different people combining efforts for a good cause while at the same time be so completely humbled by your own inability to play a childhood game?”

Chris Tarr, member of the Wakefield DPW Advisory Board, echoed this statement saying, “It was an honor to play in this year’s Dodging for Dollars tournament. Giving back to the community, especially the children of Wakefield and Stoneham will always be a priority of mine. I would like to thank everybody who donated their hard-earned money to such a wonderful cause. Going forward, I am excited to help the Boys and Girls Clubs however possible. In regards to our Stoneham competitors: we have the Lake, they can have the trophy. But next year, we won’t be so kind.”

Saritin Rizzuto, local community activist and member of the Wakefield Leaders’ team had this to say about the experience:

“The Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield is a life changing organization that is shaping the lives of our future leaders by engaging our entire community. It takes a village and we have a strong, caring and generous one. This is by far one of my favorite fundraising efforts.”

But this wasn’t the only game that brought the heat.

A match between the Boys and Girls Clubs teens and local business SDL became a battle of youth as both teams fought to display their athleticism. Phil Delaney, one of the event’s top fundraisers and member of the SDL team, had this to say about his experience playing for the third year in a row:

“Having participated in this event for a few years now, this was the most competitive one I’ve seen both on and off the court. It’s a true reflection on the great services the Boys and Girls Clubs provide for our community and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Towards the end of Dodging for Dollars Four, it was family against family as Team Lawton took on Team Gresci.

Frankie Lawton of Team Lawton, had this to say about the event:

“We had a lot of fun facing off against Lisa’s family and friends. It was a nail biter but luckily my sister came to the rescue, rather anticlimactically I may add, with a shot to the foot of Team Gresci to win the final game. We look forward to a fun rematch next year if Lisa and her team would so be inclined.”

Lisa Gresci of Team Gresci responded with this:

“Team Gresci had a blast despite a devastating loss to the Lawton Family. They played well – what can we say! Although, they did add a last minute player. In the end we got a bit too lost in the game, and we look forward towards the rematch of the year at Dodging for Dollars Five! And of course, we look forward to working with our friends at the Boys and Girls Clubs in the meantime.”

The event’s additional corporate matchups were just as intense.

In the Brightview Senior Living Wakefield vs. Life Care Center of Stoneham, Brightview Senior Living Wakefield walked away with the win.

The Middlesex County Sheriffs held their own against the Middlesex County District Attorneys.

L.L. Bean showed their skills as they took down Cast in a very close game.

Sentinel Benefits and Financial Group defeated their neighbors at Vestmark.

In a very close matchup, the Wakefield DPW was victorious against the Stoneham DPW.

Keith’s Tree Removal finally had their moment in the sun as they took down Tarpey Insurance for the first time in three years.

Wakefield Youth Action Team walked away with a victory against the Stoneham Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Community.

Our Boys and Girls Clubs teen team faced a tough loss against our friends at Epsilon, Lahey Health at Winchester Hospital, Doctor Mickey’s Pediatric and Orthodontic Specialists and Insperity; but ended the week with a triumph over SDL Inc.

Team Ross won out against Boston Chauffeur. Prestige Homes Real Estate took home a win against The Savings Bank. C-4 Analytics brought over 100 players with an inter-staff match which ended with a Purple Team win over the Black Team.

In what turned into a three-on-one controversial match with suspect officiating, MassPay, Salem Five and Staples beat NBM in a nail-biter. The Wakefield Dads emerged victorious against the Stoneham Scouts.

In the classic matchup of Gatto vs. Getty, the Getty Family inspired us in a close loss to the Gatto Family (Carey Gatto Real Estate and Chef Joe Gatto). Rebirth Body Transformation Center walked away with a close win against High Function Fitness. Life Care Center of Stoneham took the “L” against Over the Top Barber Shop in what was their second game of the event.

In an extremely close matchup, the Wakefield Fire and Police took back their title as champion against the Stoneham Fire and Police. To close out ten days of dodgeball, HDPT took the win over Fitzgerald Physical Therapy.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our teams who participated in Dodging for Dollars Four,” said Adam Rodgers, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stoneham and Wakefield. “Not every community is so willing to give up their time and resources to support a given cause, and the ability to host local community members in our Clubs is incredibly meaningful to us. It is our hope that when they are here, they get a taste of the spirit and fun that our Clubs bring to so many kids.”

Dodging for Dollars Five will be held in spring 2020. For information about how to get involved with the event, contact Anthony Guardia, Commissioner, at His advice is as follows: “start practicing now.”