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The crisis has gotten worse

In the past six months the crisis has gotten worse. In that time deaths have increased 18% in Connecticut according to Hartford HealthCare, and I can’t believe it’s much better elsewhere.

Over 130 people a day are dying  in America from the crisis.

No, I’m not talking about the Covid-19 pandemic- that’s today’s crisis. This is the Opioid Overdose crisis- you remember, the one that filled daily newspapers  just a few short months ago with stories of loved ones lost to the scourge and countless reports about collaborations among law enforcement, civic and private organizations scrambling for ways to stem the overdose tide.

It was the most important issue of the day.

But that was yesterday. In March we shifted crises. Since then Covid has replaced Opioid as the operative word, and nary a piece will you read about opioid overdoses.  It’s as if our attention spans can’t juggle simultaneous traumas.

Monday, Aug 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time to remind us that the other crisis is still very much with us. Hundreds of pairs of shoes will dangle from the Burrand Bridge in Vancouver, left by loved ones of overdose deaths.

And to symbolize their losses hundreds more would have clamped Love Locks onto a special gate during the Matt Herring Foundation’s Overdose Awareness Walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson (sadly canceled this year due to the pandemic along with many others on sportingAcause.com).

The International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us that nearly 70,000 people in America, mostly young, die every year from overdoses.

But that was Monday’s reminder. What about tomorrow?

 

 

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Lou Gehrig’s Disease

I don’t think there is a more devastating illness than ALS  (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This neurodegenerative treachery  robs its victims of muscular control. First it limits and then eliminates leg and hand movements, then finally it impedes the ability to swallow and breath. But it leaves the mind intact- fully aware of its body’s condition.

ALS affects the sufferers’ family/caregivers as well. It levies a ponderous emotional and financial toll. Once diagnosed, the average lifespan for someone with ALS is two to five years. It is always fatal.

Organizations like the ALS Foundation are working to support ALS sufferers and their families while also funding research for treatments and a cure.

For the past eight years Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated in the Ride to Defeat ALS to raise much-needed funds for the ALS Foundation. She lost her father Paul to ALS over 20 years ago. He was a great man and a good friend of mine whose smile was infectious. As I’ve said in a previous blog , smiling may be the bravest thing you can do when you have ALS.

Nicole is looking for your support to help raise money for the ALS Foundation. If you are able to give, please go here to donate: :https://www.facebook.com/donate/1191671207873585/10219707843141627/.

And as Nicole says “Every little bit helps”.

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Golf Tournament Fundraisers- With A Difference

The list grows longer of golf tournament fundraisers that have decided to give it a try this year. But they will not look the same as they did way back in 2019.

Courses are scrambling to find ways to keep these gatherings safe without , well, gathering. The good news is that once golfers are out on the course and playing  they can easily distance from one another. The bad news is there are bottlenecks  during the process when golfers tend to bunch up, like during registration, buying raffle tickets, waiting for tee assignments, lunch, awards and raffle drawings and dinner.

But golf courses are coming up with solutions to these challenges. At Undermountain Golf Course, for example, registration and payment will be done on-line in advance of tournament day, the raffle will be restricted to a 50/50 rather than a prolonged drawing and dinner is likely to be “to go”. Participants will be limited to 72 golfers for a two-flight tournament.

Over at Fair View Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, one of their upcoming tournaments will have an on line silent auction and raffle, dinner will be replaced by a gift certificate for a free round of golf and registration will be limited to 100 golfers.

At Undermountain, rather than waiting in a group for tee assignments, foursomes will be given their starting hole, and they will go straight to their tee – no hanging around the club house, and lunch will be a boxed meal at the turn.

Masks and distancing are always  in order, but of course, all of these best-laid plans are subject to change.

Here is the latest batch of tournaments to weigh in:

Torrington Little League Golf Tournament, Aug. 14th,   Fairview Farm Golf Course

Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Aug. 14, Copake Country Club

Fore Autism Charity Golf Tournament, Aug. 21st, Fairview Farm

Fore The Children Golf Tournament, Aug. 31st, Torrington Country Club

High Watch Golf Tournament, Sept. 21st, Club at River Oaks

Hearts of the Fathers Golf Tournament, Oct. 8th, Copake C. C.

John Foley Lone Oak Challenge Golf Tournament  Canceled for 2020

Co ARC Opportunitees Golf Tournament, Sep. 24, Copake C.C.   FULL

BLN 20th Annual Golf Tournament, Sept. 14th, Torrington C.C.

Sharon Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Sept. 15th, Sharon Country Club

Torrington PAL Golf Tournament, Sept. 28th, Torrington C.C.

Again, everything these days is subject to change, so check http://sportingacause.com/ for updates.

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Reason for Hope

Reason for Hope

So many cancellations, so many fundraising opportunities lost, so much uncertainty. But here in the sports-related fundraiser world there is now reason for optimism. Even as many events have canceled (and continue to) and the daily dose of Covid-19 news looks bleak, some charities are still hopeful that they can pull off their events.

Two weeks ago I offered an unhappy list of event cancellations. Today, here is a list of events that are either on the calendar or are hoping to be.

Ancrum Fire Co. Golf Tournament,   August 9th at Undermountain Golf Course

Northwest CT United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament,    on hold

UNICO Golf Tournament,   moved to Oct 5th at Torrington Country Club

James Ducillo Canaan Exchange Club Golf Tournament,  possibly in late August

Amenia Fire Co. Golf Tournament,  September 12th at Undermountain Golf Course

SWSA Golf Tournament and Pig Roast,   September 19th at Undermountain Golf Course

Fore the Children Golf Tournament,   August 31st at Torrington Country Club

Ice Bucket Challenge,  tentatively in October

Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament,  September at Copake Country Club

Angevine Farm Half Marathon,  postponed – new date to be determined

Jane Lloyd Fund Clam Bake,  postponed –  hope to hold an event in September

Salisbury Cricket Club Cricket Match,  postponed, hope to hold event in September

Million Mile  Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser, still on for month of September

Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament,  rescheduled for September 2nd at Berkshire Hills Country Club

Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon,  still scheduled for September 13th with alterations

Many more events are, as yet, undecided . Needless to say, everything these days is subject to change, so check out sportingAcause.com for event updates.

 

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Out of the Darkness

 

It will be the most comforting, nurturing stroll  these folks take this year. Hundreds will traverse the Walkway Over the Hudson this fall during the Out of the Darkness Community Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

You’ll see teams of walkers sporting T shirts with the names and faces of loved ones lost to suicide. They will  wear a variety of colored beads, each signifying  a particular form of loss- white beads mean the loss of a child;  orange, the loss of a sibling;  gold, the loss of a parent. If you struggle with your own thoughts of suicide, there are green beads there for you.

Thomas Sherwood and his wife Marie will be walking with Team Joe. Thomas will wear orange  in honor of his brother Joey who died five years ago. They will be joined by Joey’s widow Joy- she’ll be wearing red.

The mood will be, at times, surprisingly upbeat, because they are a gathering of kindred spirits – they understand what each other is going through far better than the outside world can know. Their mantra is “You’re not alone”. That’s where the nurturing and comforting come in.

But there will be somber reflection too as  people step to the microphone to tell of their loss ” I am wearing white today because I lost my twin boys, both of them” Their words yank at your heart. Maybe these expressions are cathartic for them- I hope so.

But this event is also a fundraiser. The teams seek donations to help support the important work that the AFSP does.

They teach grade schoolers about mental health, continue research into what causes people to attempt suicide, and educate the general population about what behaviors to look for and how to get help for someone who exhibits those warning signs.

The AFSP mission is to decrease suicides  20% by 2025.

Thomas is raising funds now. If you would like to support him please go here: https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Thomas-Sherwood

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

Nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from suicide.

To learn more about AFSP’s good work visit https://afsp.org/

To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Dutchess/Ulster County Community Walk on Sept. 27th visit:  http://sportingacause.com/event/dutchess-ulster-…s-community-walk/

To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Berkshire County Community Walk on Oct. 3rd visit:   http://sportingacause.com/event/out-of-the-darkn…re-county-walk-2/.

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Canceled, postponed or altered events through July

Here is a list of sports-related fundraiser updates in the Tri-State area through July 2020. For some, there is unhappy news as organizers have had to cancel events, but for others- hope as events have been altered or postponed to perhaps a safer time.

These are uncertain times for sure, but one thing is most certain- many local charities that help our neighbors in need are themselves now in need. They have been wounded by canceled or altered fundraisers that they rely on each year to fulfill their missions. Donations could well be down with many donors unemployed and supportive businesses closed. And if that isn’t bad enough, demands for charities’ services have increased because of pandemic-related issues.

So when the appeal letters from your favorite charities arrive in the mail, please, if you are able, add something extra to your usual gift.

Litchfield/Morris Rotary Club Golf Tournament  Canceled

United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament  Postponed , date TBD

Maplebrook School Golf Tournament  Canceled

Litchfield Open   Postponed, TBD

Torrington Child Care Center Golf Tournament  Canceled

John Vendetti K 0f C Golf Tournament  Canceled

Immaculate Conception Church Golf Outing  Canceled

Oliver Wolcott Golf Scramble  Canceled

Torrington/Winsted Rotary Golf Tournament  Canceled

Thomas Berlinghoff Memorial Golf Tournament  Canceled

Drive for a Cure Golf Tournament  Canceled

UNICO Golf Tournament  Postponed to Oct 5th

Roeliff Jensen Community Library Golf Tournament  Canceled

Great Barrington Rotary Golf Tournament  Canceled

Tee Up For Autism  Canceled

Ancrum Fire Co, Golf Tournament  On- details to come

Isaiah Lamb Annual Golf Tournament  Canceled

HYSB Annual Golf Tournament  Canceled

Salisbury Cricket Club Cricket Match  Postponed, hopefully in September

Dutchess Dragon Boat Race  Canceled

Dutchess County Fair  Canceled

Goshen Fair  Canceled

Jaime Kirchner Wheels & Heels Race  Canceled

OK 5K Race  Canceled

Peach Hill Park 5K  Canceled

Hopped Up for Health Run and Bike  Canceled

Ryan McElroy 5K/10K  Canceled

Relay for Life Berkshire County  Postponed  TBD

Vegan 50K  Virtual

Wild Thing 5K/10K  Virtual

Discover Hudson Valley Bike Ride  Canceled

Pittsfield BMC Independence Day 5K  Canceled

Run Around the Lake  Still On!

Angevine Farm Half Marathon  Postponed TBD

Litchfield Hills Triathlon  Canceled

Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon  On for now

Sandy Beach Triathlon   Canceled

Insane Inflatable 5K  Virtual

Jane Lloyd Fund Clambake  Canceled, Hope to hold some event later

Jug End Ultra  Virtual

Never Say No 5K  May go Virtual

Canaan Rail Road Days 5 Mile Run  Canceled

Harlem Valley Rail Ride  Date moved to Aug 30th

Junk Yard Dogs Half Marathon  Still on, details to come

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Golf Anyone?

At a very quick glance, for a moment at least, they will kinda look like us. When Rickie and Matthew take on Rory and Dustin , there will be no crowds, no caddies. They will even ride in carts- just like us.

But then they’ll tee off, and any semblance to us weekend warriors will disappear like a 350 yard drive into the mist.

We’re talking , of course, about the TaylorMade Driving Relief Match which will pit Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff on Sunday. Covid-related charities will benefit. And this Memorial weekend Tiger Woods will pair with Peyton Manning to battle Phil Michelson and Tom Brady for similar charities.

These two TV events are heaven-sent for millions of golf-starved viewers who have endured weeks of cancelled tournaments including the Masters.

Closer to home, golf life is continuing to open up just as Tri-State businesses are poised to return – each state addressing the challenges differently.

Last week Massachusetts saw the error of its ways and allowed golf courses to reopen –  the last of the Tri-States to do so. The Egremont Country Club however will remain closed for the season.

Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits, has allowed open courses all along, and New York State, after several open-now-closed back and forths, has decided it’s safe to golf in the Empire State. The issue of carts, however, is still a little cloudy. After several readings of the New York Parks website, it SEEMS as if carts are now allowed without restriction. Best to check with your local course first.

All three states adhere to pretty much the same list of restrictions, but here are links to each state’s rules and regs.

Massachusetts https://www.massgolf.org/news/2020_reopening/

Connecticut  https://www.csgalinks.org/content/csga/csga-covid-19-resources#current%20guidelines

New York State  https://www.nysga.org/communications-news/nysga-updates-regarding-covid-19

Fore!

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Dammit We Can Drive!

We will always find ways to express ourselves, no matter how onerous the  restraints. We can’t get together to celebrate a birthday or play a game, we can’t gather to mourn a loss, we can’t stand within two arm lengths of each other. Fine.

But dammit we can get in our cars and drive!

Around 40 cars worth of parade wound their way past fire houses and ambulance garages and health care facilities today to celebrate National Superheroes Day and to honor our first responders and health care heroes. Well-wishers held signs and waved from their vehicles, and at each facility along the route the heroes waved back.

Ten or 20 years from now when we look back on the Pandemic of 2020, one of the defining images of that time will be of people in their cars holding signs and paper hearts out of their windows, waving and calling out – not touching or hugging but still showing the love.

Thanks to the Tri-State Chamber of Commerce and Lime Rock Park and all of the big-hearted people who put on this moving display. And of course thanks to the heroes.

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Travelers Championship is Back (with changes)

As sports-related fundraisers are cancelling and postponing all over the Tri-State area this spring,  here is a fresh breeze of good news. Organizers of the Travelers Championship have just announced that the event is still on for June 25 – 28 this year!

And although this year’s version will be a non-spectator event because of the Covid-19 pandemic, area charities, large and small, will be able to benefit from Connecticut’s largest sporting event.

What many may not know is that besides the signature charities that the Travelers supports such as a dozen or so military-related charities as well as organizations dedicated to COVID-19 relief efforts, the Tournament also supports nearly 200 small charities around the northeast, and that’s great news for charities in sportingAcause’s Tri-State area.

Any 501(c)(3) registered charity can join the Travelers Birdies for Charity program and take advantage of their fundraising platform. In addition, Travelers will add 15% to whatever funds each charity raises up to a total of $1 million!

Last year local non-profits like the Housatonic Valley Regional High School golf team were able to raise some much-needed money by selling discounted tickets to the Travelers through the Chip in for Charities program. Well that program went away because there are no tickets to sell this year.

But all of those charities can switch to the Birdies for Charity program. Here’s how:

All registered 501(c)(3) organizations registered in the Northeast United States are eligible. There is not a limit on the number of organizations that can participate.

  • Register with the Travelers Championship and we’ll provide the materials and information you need to get started.
  • Solicit donations – ask donors, sponsors, co-workers, friends, and family!
  • Direct your donors to the tournament website, www.TravelersChampionship.com or to your personalized donation website to make a contribution.
  • Submit all donations to the Travelers Championship by Sunday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.
  • In the early Fall of 2020, the Travelers Championship will give you a check for 100% of donations received, plus an additional 15% from our Bonus Bucks pool. It’s that easy!

 

For more information about Birdies for Charity, please contact Taylor Whiting at 860-502-6805 or via email at twhiting@travelerschampionship.com.

Now, having said all of the above, things could still change. Even though the Travelers organizers are moving forward, changes in our fight against the pandemic could alter plans. Stay tuned for updates, but definitely enroll in the Travelers fundraising program!

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Cancelled, Postponed and Virtualized

 

Event organizers are waiting as long as they possibly can before making the gut-churning decision to cancel or maybe postpone their fundraisers. So much is at stake after all- hours of planning expended, sponsorship money gathered from businesses and already spent, and of course, the prospect of losing the funds that the event would provide – funds that already hold a place in charities’ budget projections.

As  Covid-19 chugs along, a 30 day yardstick seems to be the unofficial measurement where charities decide to throw in the towel. 100% of the sports-related fundraisers on sportingAcause.com have been cancelled, postponed or altered for the months of April and May. These are mini tragedies in an ocean of Covid- induced tragedies.

The latest event changes on the sportingAcause.com website include the cancellation of the Litchfield Hills Road Race; Line Rock Park has postponed both its season-opening Touring Car Festival (date to be determined) and the Memorial Day Classic (new date Oct. 16-17). Also, the entire Walk MS series through June has become virtual.

Here is the list of April and May events that have been cancelled, postponed or virtualized.

Bring On the Heat 4th Annual 5K (Bethlehem, CT) rescheduled to July 25th

Arlington Education Foundation 5K Run/Walk (Lagrange. NY) Cancelled

Shane Kinsella Memorial 5 Mile Run (Goshen, CT) Rescheduled to Sept. 12th

Upton Lake Christian School Eagle Run (Clinton Corners, NY) Rescheduled to Sept. 12th

Wellness 5K  (Pittsfield, MA)  Cancelled

Kiwanis Kingston 5K (Kingston, NY) Cancelled

Ride 1 Rally at Lime Rock Park (Lime Rock, CT)  postponed date TBA

Spring Splash (Lakeville, CT)  Cancelled

Gilbert Blue and Gold 5K and Golf Tournament (Winsted, CT)  Cancelled

Angel in the Infield Softball Tournament (Canaan, CT)  Cancelled

Kentucky Derby Social  (Salisbury, CT)  Rescheduled to Sept. 5th

Touring Car Festival at Lime Rock Park (Lime Rock, CT) Postponed  date TBA

Sharon Classic 35th Annual Road Race (Sharon. CT) Rescheduled to Sept. 26th.

Sean’s Ride and Sean’s Run (Chatham, NY)  Cancelled

Girls Just Wanna Run 5K (Litchfield, CT)  Cancelled

Retro Run 5K (Morris, CT)  Cancelled

Kenny Krom Memorial Basketball Game (Sheffield, MA)  Cancelled

Arrest and Extinguish ALS  (Lenox, MA) Cancelled

Touring Car Festival at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT)  Postponed date TBD

NW CT Rod and Gun Club Steel Challenge Pistol Match (Canaan, CT)    Postponed  TBD

Annual Women’s Running Race (Pittsfield, MA)   Virtual

Wa Wa Wally Waddle (Poughkeepsie, NY)  Virtual

AFSP Run For Hope (Bethlehem, CT)   Postponed to June 6th

Camphill Village 5K  ( Copake, NY)  Postponed Date TBD

Steel Rail Half Marathon (Lanesboro, MA)  Virtual

Shine On 5K  ( Burlington, CT)  Rescheduled to Sept. 20th

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes SBA Project (Litchfield, CT)  Postponed Date TBD

Barkhamsted Elementary School Annual River Run 5K  (Barkhamsted, CT)  Cancelled

Relay For Life Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)  Postponed Date TBD

Berkshire South Community Center 8th Annual 5K Run  (Great Barrington, MA)  Virtual

Litchfield/Morris Rotary Club Golf Tournament ( Fairview Farm )  Cancelled

United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament (Torrington CC) Rescheduled to June 15th, may re-reschedule

Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament (Berkshire Hills CC)  Postponed Date TBD

Litchfield Hills Road Race  (Litchfield, CT)  Cancelled

Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT)  Postponed to Oct. 16-17

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