By Seth Daniel
This coming Saturday, Sept. 10, the ladies of Charlestown and their friends and family members from near and far will take to the diamond for their annual softball tournament in memory of Mark and Michelle Gorman – but this year the organizers are rallying Charlestown parents to enter their children for a chance to win one of seven scholarships to be given out by a drawing.
“If you live in Charlestown and pay tuition at a school, we are asking you to come down and put your name in for scholarships from kindergarten through college and then relax and watch the games,” said Melissa Doherty, a long-time organizer. “It’s a fun day with games and music and food. It’s a great cause for two good people, Mark and Michelle. Every year, our applicant pool is getting smaller and smaller. We want to get a bigger group of people so the same people aren’t winning the scholarship every year. This year, we are giving away seven scholarships worth $7,000. It’s a great opportunity.”
The tournament takes place at the “Oilies,” which is officially called the Barry Playground Field, located on Medford Street under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge. To enter the scholarship drawing, parents only have to come down by 9 a.m. on Sept. 10 with a 3 x 5 card containing the child’s name, their grade, the school they attend and contact information. Those who win will have their scholarship sent directly to the school they attend.
This year, the Mark and Michelle Gorman Memorial Scholarship Fund will give out six scholarships. There are two scholarships for K-8 (one boy and one girl), two scholarships for high school (one boy and one girl) and two scholarships for college (one boy and one girl). The Committee has given out a total of $61,100 in scholarships over its 17 year history.
An additional seventh scholarship will be given out in memory of Brian Hingston, a Charlestown native who died tragically last April while trying to break up a fight between friends in Dorchester.
The all-female tournament features softball games and, more importantly these days, a competitive Cornhole Tournament.
The tradition began very spontaneously in 1999 when Michelle Gorman – who worked at the Harvard Kent School Community Center and the Bunker Hill Pool – decided that the women needed to have an athletic event in the community.
“Originally it was called Saucin’ Softball and Michelle put it together as a woman-only softball tournament,” said Doherty. “She felt the guys had golf tournaments and football and women didn’t get to go out and do those things. She put together this women-only softball tournament, but the day before it was to happen in 1999, her brother, Mark Gorman, had a sudden heart attack and died. The tournament had to be cancelled.”
However, the next year, in 2000, Gorman and Doherty and others rallied and held the tournament in memory of Mark Gorman and donated all the proceeds to the former school known as Charlestown Catholic. The proceeds helped the school to buy science equipment and computers and other materials.
When the school closed though, they decided to give out scholarships, but not with essays or critiques. Instead, they simply drew names out of a hat.
In 2008, tragedy struck the Gorman family again, though, when Michelle Gorman was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She passed in 2010.
“Before she died, I asked her what she wanted to do about the softball tournament,” said Doherty. “She said, ‘I want you to keep it going.’ Since that time it has continued in Mark and Michelle Gorman’s name and we give out scholarships in their name.”
Anyone wishing to play in the tournament or donate to the tournament must contact Melissa Doherty by today, Sept. 8. The entry fee or donation is $40 and includes a T-Shirt. Doherty can be contacted at (617) 308-7266 or [email protected].