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The North End Athletic Association (NEAA) and the Nazzaro Center once again teamed up this past winter to provide the neighborhood with a comprehensive basketball program for all ages of boys and girls. Nearly 200 of its participants, family, and friends turned out for the league’s annual recognition banquet on March 19 at Filippo Ristorante.

The Nazzaro Center’s Small Fry League, as it has been known for the more than 45 years it has been in operation, consists of 3 components: the Instructional League (ages 6-8), the Junior Varsity (ages 8-11), and the Varsity (ages 12-15). The league’s philosophy has never wavered from its original mission: to provide youth with a constructive learning experience centered on team basketball. The emphasis has always been on participation, which is why you can never tell which team won the most games solely based on the trophies received at the banquet. Everybody receives a participation trophy with its size dependent on that child’s attendance.

The most coveted of all the trophies are the Dexter Award, the Carangelo Cup, and the Dom Campochiaro Recognition Award. These memorial awards are named after three of the founding fathers of North End youth involvement and are annually presented based on the special qualities and merits that were exemplified by their namesakes throughout their careers working for the neighborhood youth. This year these awards were presented to Steven Griffin – Campochiaro Award, Jackie Gallarelli – Carangelo Cup, and Peter Shea and Teddy Past (tie) – Dexter Award.

Trophies awarded to the basketball players. In the center, from left to right, are the Carangelo Cup, Dexter Award, and Dom Campochiaro Recognition Award.

Beside the 119 trophies and plaques given out to every member of all three divisions, team pictures were given to all participants, special Harvard Masters of Youth Basketball “diplomas” were awarded to all the All*Stars, four sets of Red Sox tickets were given away, a delicious breakfast was served, and the expertise of Sal Bartolo and his music accompaniment provided entertainment throughout the morning.

Special thanks to Mikey ‘Fud” Giannasoli for his annual commitment, encouragement, and support, not only this past season, but for almost all of the 45 years this league has been in existence.

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