The Nazzaro Center-NEAA basketball league, a program servicing about 125 boys and girls ranging in age from 4-18, held its annual awards banquet at Filippos restaurant on Sunday March 13 and it looked like an old Boston Garden sellout of 13,909. Actually there were only about 200 children and their families but it did fill the hall to maximum capacity. Hosted by league directors Carl Ameno and Mikey Giannasoli, over 100 trophies were awarded in the Instructional category, Varsity and JV categories, 6 different age group traveling teams and three special commemorative awards given in memory of North End/NEAA pioneers. In addition, every player was given one or more team pictures and members of the two separate All*Star teams (one JV and one girls), whose games were played at Harvard, were presented with degrees as “Masters of Youth Basketball” from that institution. The whole function began with a blessing and recitation of grace by former Small Fry player and Youth Programmember Fr. Ricky Martignetti and then proceeded against a backdrop of award wining music provided, gratis, by DJ Sal Bartolo. Interspersed throughout the proceedings were raffles for four sets of Red Sox tickets and the highlight of the morning was the presentations of the Dom Campochiaro Pioneer Award, the Freddy Carangelo Cup and the Dexter Award, the aforementioned special honors given in memory of three of our North End forefathers.
On a personal note, this writer was given a five minute standing ovation, the first of my career, that left me on the verge of tears.