by SOPHIA HELLER '17
Central Coast’s Bosom Buddies Underwater Dart Tournament is perhaps one of the most unique methods of raising funds and awareness. Since the year 1985, America has been celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) in October each year. Almost everyone has been touched in some way by breast cancer, whether through an aunt, a mother, a grandmother or a friend. It is for this reason that Central Coast Dive Center hosts an event for breast cancer each year to raise money for this widespread cause.
Tommy Evans, who opened Central Coast Dive Center in 1998, got the idea for the tournament from teaching a children’s scuba class, and in 2000 the first tournament took place. Tommy was teaching the children diving techniques by playing a game with darts and hula hoops. Hula hoops float in water, so the children’s split into two teams and the team that threw the most pool darts through the hoops won the game. “My mom had breast cancer, my aunts had breast cancer, my sisters had breast cancer, my cousins had breast cancer,” Evans stated when asked about his connection to his cause. “I wanted to do something to help, and I realized that this was a way for me to do that.” Thus Evans devised the idea of an underwater dart game, throwing pool darts through a diamond-shaped dartboard made from PVC pipe, hung from the edge of the pool.
This year marks the fourteenth year of this annual event. Over the past fourteen years, the tournament has raised $214,000 from participants, sponsors, and donations. The money collected goes directly to the Mercy Health Mobile Mammography Unit. “Early detection, that’s what we’re doing,” Evans added. Both of Evans’s sisters, Susan and Pam, died of breast cancer. His sister Susan passed away and left behind four children, the oldest only nine years old. His sister Pam fought for 16 years before passing away, but her legacy is one shared by many dedicated to her tireless fight. She remains the legendary women’s basketball coach for Wittenberg University, the gym at the school is named after her, and to this day she holds the record for all time leading scorer from when she attended the school.
Each year, hundreds of people participate and donate to the tournament. There is a $20 sponsor’s fee to enter the competition, and then the competitors collect more donations from other sponsors on a pledge form, in a similar fashion to those running a marathon. The only other requirement to participate is to be certified in diving. If you have never been scuba diving before, there are quick, easy lessons called Discover Scuba Experiences that you can take before a session of the tournament and then participate right afterwards. The tournament takes place at Central Coast Dive Center, 913 Dudley Road in Edgewood KY (about ten minutes from downtown Cincinnati), over a period of three days. The winner at the end of the tournament wins a week trip on a sail boat in the Bahamas. This year’s tournament has come to a close, but to sign up for a time slot or donate next year, simply call the shop at (859) 426-0020. For more information on the tournament and other diving activities, the link for the website is http://centralcoastdivecenter.com/central-coast-dive-center-bosom-buddies-underwater-darts-tourney/. As we go forth through the month of October, let us too honor those who have died of breast cancer and contribute to raising awareness and funds to help stop this destructive cancer.