Sporting A Cause

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Breaking News !!

 

A patch of good news in a fear-soddened world. Yesterday the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development sent a statement to the Canaan Country Club that Connecticut golf courses can open/reopen as long as they follow CDC guidelines. That means restaurants associated with the golf courses will remain closed and golfers must abide by the new rules of conduct in a coronavirus world.

Just this morning New York State informed the New York State Golf Association that New York State golf courses can reopen, again, subject to CDC guidelines.

As of this morning(March 26th) Massachusetts courses are still closed.

This is wonderful news! The governments, both state and federal hamstrung themselves with their own wording. Using the word “nonessential” to define businesses that must shut down, they included enterprises like golf courses which can of course conduct business in a safe manner.

As soon as I learn of any changes for Massachusetts I will let you know.

Fore!!!

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It’s Our Turn Now

 

You see their names all the time, the same ones over and over. You see their names on T shirts at 5K road races and Tee signs at golf tournaments and on lists in “Thank You For Your Support”  letters to the editor.

They are the small town businesses who give constantly and repeatedly to the fundraising events making money for our treasured charities. They donate gift certificates and raffle, door and auction prizes and just plain cash because it’s their way of “giving back” to their communities.

There are over 450 events on sportingAcause.com all of which have business sponsors. And that’s just sports-related fundraisers. The total fundraisers must be in the many thousands in the Tri-State area – all business-supported.

And as we know, their support underwrites the events’ expenses. Without those sponsors, there are no fundraisers.

Now, in the time of the coronavirus, many of those businesses are hurting – especially those who have been ordered by law to close. Some like restaurants and breweries are open for takeout or delivery only. It won’t be enough to sustain them indefinitely, but it may keep them afloat for the short term – maybe.

So here is where we can help. Please, please make it a point- no- make it your mission to patronize the restaurants and breweries in your town by stopping by for takeout or ordering delivered meals or getting a six pack to go. These businesses need our support more than you know.

It’s our turn now, and “giving back” is a two-way road.

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Golf – The last Sports Refuge ?

The golf course may be the last sports refuge in these crazy times.

At its essence, golf is a solitary sport, and even when enjoyed with others there is a natural distance between players. But even on the links some changes have emerged to help keep everyone safe.

The most obvious change of course is there can be no post-round beers at the bar or lunch either  since all restaurants are closed. But course eateries are still offering snacks, lunch-type foods like sandwiches and beverages to take onto the course.

Here is what some of the public courses in the sportingAcause.com Tri-State area are doing to accommodate golfers in coronavirus world.

Egremont Country Club, South Egremont, MA- not open yet, hope to be open soon.

Hotchkiss School Golf Course, Lakeville, CT – may open as soon as April 1st.

Fairview Farm Golf Course, Harwinton, CT – open for the season, burgers, dogs,  sandwiches and beverages available to take on the course.

Green Woods Country Club, Winsted, CT – not open yet.

Quarry View Golf Course, Canaan, CT – course and driving range open, no food options.

Undermountain Golf Course, Copake, NY – open, beverages and snacks available to take on the course , no lunch menu yet.

Winding Brook Country Club, Valatie, NY – tentative opening date  March 29th.

Canaan Country Club, Canaan, CT – open but without carts, limited luncheon items and beverages available for takeout.

Links at Union Vale, Lagrangeville, NY – beverages and sandwich menu to go. Also only allowing one golfer per cart and only a couple people in the pro shop at a time.

Other measures that some clubs are taking to avoid the virus spread are no rakes in the sand traps, no ball washers, leaving the pin in while putting and using raised cups (when your putt hits the raised cup lip it is considered “in”).

Many courses are also sanitizing carts after each use.

Before you tee off, check with the pro shop at your favorite course to see what changes they’ve made to help ensure our safety.

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The New Normal

Just a few weeks ago, the first time I saw an image of the coronavirus it reminded me of a Nerf ball- something a child would play with, not the fearful, hateful thing it has so quickly come to symbolize.

The scroll at the bottom of the TV screen during the evening news last night seemed like the Storm of the Century was upon us –  schools closed, senior centers, town libraries, day care centers, all closed. But then, unprecedented in my experience, the scroll continued past the news through the rest of last night’s programming as event closings grew in number.

“Unprecedented” is a word we’re seeing a lot  lately. All major sports programs are shut down- the NBA, NHL, MLB have ended their seasons or at least “postponed” them. The NCAA Basketball Tournament is history. March Madness has a new meaning now.

And the speed of change is breathtaking. We don’t like change usually, but if it must, let it be in a measured, considered manner, extended over time. Two days ago, Connecticut high school athletes were protesting the “unfair” abrupt cancellation of all state sports tournaments . No one is protesting now.

Most of the weekend sports-related fundraisers in our area have been postponed. Here is a list of those events that appear on sportingAcause.com.

Retro Dodge Ball Tournament, Litchfield- postponed, hope to play at a later date.

VFW Couch-Pipa Bunco Tournament, North Canaan-  postponed until a later date.

Hoops For Hope, Poughkeepsie – postponed until a later date.

Shamrock Run, Kingston – postponed until a later date.

NW CT Rod and Gun Club Ham Shoot – still on for now.

Stay safe my friends, and welcome to the new normal.

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FORE !

 

The crocuses are up with the daffodils close behind, frogs have been playing dodge- the- cars on rainy nights, and yes, the golf season has begun- at least for now.

Here is a listing of some local public courses that are up and running or close to it:

Canaan Country Club in North Canaan, CT is open but walking-only, no carts yet.

Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, CT  is open for business with carts.

Undermountain Golf Course in Copake, NY  is open with carts in the rough-only.

Green Woods Country Club in Winsted, CT promises to be open in “a week or so” – they are rolling greens and raking up winter debris.

Stonybrook Golf Course in Milton, CT should be open by this weekend.

Quarry View Golf Course in Canaan, CT is open with carts. The driving range is open too.

The Links at Union Vale are open with carts (cart paths only).

The Hotchkiss School Golf Course typically opens by April 15th, but can open as early as April 1st under favorable conditions, according to their website. I’d say this might be that kind of year.

Neither the Egremont Country Club in South Egremont, MA  nor Winding Brook Country Club in Valatie, NY are open yet, but stay tuned –  they’ll be opening “soon”.

So there you have it Golfers. Plenty of open options to dispel all of that pent up demand.

Just stretch first, OK?

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I was wrong

I was wrong.

I’ve said it many times – for non-profits,  volunteers are second in importance only to donations- money first, volunteers second.

Saturday, Development Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association- CT Chapter Tina Hogan set me straight.

” I couldn’t accomplish anything without volunteers,” she said, ” They are more important than anything”. She made her point by listing a dozen tasks that volunteers perform- office volunteers, community representatives, graphic/web design, community educators, special events, and more. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes 50 to 100 volunteers alone” Tina told me.

And that was why Tina and her crew were at the Falls Village Inn this past Saturday- for the Alzheimer’s Association Leap into Action Volunteer Kickoff to recruit help for a busy upcoming season of activities and beyond. And they were successful – 25 folks came and signed up to help!

Some of them no doubt will be lending a hand for The Longest Day (June 21st) and The Walk to End Alzheimer’s which will be held for the first time at Lime Rock Park in October. LRP has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as its signature charity this year.

You will be able to find the details of both events on sportingAcause.com.

Evidence shows that people want to help out charities, both through donations and volunteerism, but often don’t know where to start. Here’s how: email alz.org/ct and offer your services. They can use all skill sets. Or contact another local charity whose mission is dear to your heart. They can all use the help.

 

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Winsted Plunge Gone

By unpopular demand, the Winsted Penguin Plunge 2020, which had been scheduled for March 7th, has been canceled.

This would have been the 17th year of an event that has raised over $1.1 million for Special Olympics Connecticut. In recent history,  the Plunge raised $90,000 per year- and now it’s gone.

“Due to a low number of registrants” was the website reason for pulling the plug.

That’s the bad news.

But apparently some of the team participants from past years, high school, grade school, scouts, first responder teams, the ones who raised the big bucks, chose to sign up with other Connecticut Plunges instead. The money for CT Special Olympics didn’t disappear, it just shifted.

And that’s the good news.

Polar Plunges and other fundraising events in Connecticut support 12,000 to 13,000 Special Olympic athletes in the state with training and equipment in 26 different year-round sports. Special Olympics remains one of the most beloved and popular charities in the nation and beyond.

So if you had been planning to do the Plunge again in Winsted this year, you can still satisfy your cold water cravings at six other CT Plunge locations over the next few weeks. You can find them here:  https://www.soct.org/.

And if you are particularly masochistic you can take part in the Pittsfield Super Plunge March 28th and 29th ( This one supports Special Olympics Massachusetts). There you can jump into icy water once every hour for 24 straight hours. Now that’s dedication!

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Official Concern

Last week was Officials vs Cancer, a program of the International Association of Accredited Basketball Officials. Refs at all school levels were asked to donate 25% of their reffing fees to the American Cancer Society, and they raised big bucks. They always do.

But see how that plays against another ref- related program this month- “Support your Local Ref”, a program to show some respect for our sports officials in Connecticut.

Because while officials (specifically basketball refs) have been showing their love with their fight against cancer, officials in general  haven’t been feeling the love at all.

You see the “Support your Local Ref ” program was initiated because the sports official community in Connecticut is in crisis- there are not enough refs to go around. And that is because 50% of all newly trained officials never return for a second season.

Why?

Verbal abuse, particularly by parents and other fans.

It’s that bad.

Six decades ago when I played Little League baseball, there was a bleacher behind home plate.  The parents and fans were so abusive to the umpire, the bleacher was moved to deep center field where the expletives were harder to hear.

Little has changed, it seems.

In the sports world, no participants  are more roundly maligned than the officials, right? They play the no-win position of angering one side or the other, no matter their call.

Their gaffs, which can influence a game’s outcome,  often ring louder in the media than any player’s mistake. Post game air time is used to debate solutions for “bad calls”, real or perceived.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I guess it does – behind the black and white stripes, these are people , just like us. They do their jobs as best they can, just like us. With generous hearts they raise funds against disease and other causes, just like us. And because of us their numbers are dwindling.

So while the world of professional sports continues to ask the question “What do we do with the officials?”,  here on our elementary and high school athletic fields we should be asking “What would we do without them?”

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Human Dog Sled Race

To further bolster its kennel of competitors, SWSA is looking for a few good men and women to join the exciting Human Dog Sled Race on Friday evening, February 7, 2020 of Jumpfest 2020 weekend. Teams of six (five pulling and one riding) using sleds of your own design, compete for trophies in men’s, women’s and mixed categories as well as a people’s choice award for best costume/sled. The event is professionally announced.

Sleds can be as simple as an inner tube or as elaborate as an imitation fire truck.

Competition is fierce for a year’s worth of bragging rights for the winners, and fun is had by all.

If you have five friends or coworkers who are at least 18 years old and have at least a  moderate level of fitness (you will be running in snow over a .3 mile course), then contact us at info@ jumpfest.org to get rules and other info.

Keep in mind that there is an element of risk involved.

Friday night of Jumpfest is a great time! An eighth of a mile of Luminarias guide you to the site, two roaring bonfires to keep you toasty, food and beverages for sale and target ski jumping and the Human Dog Sled Races are all held under the lights! Come join us!

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Here’s to a Hopeful New Year

For my final blog of 2019 I have listed the charities that have found their way into  sportingAcause.com. It is a long scroll, but I hope you will take the moment to roll it. You will see the massive national and international charities that tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and autism, but also tiny ones you’ve likely never heard of. They operate under the radar easing the miseries of the hungry, homeless and troubled. They put back together the lives of children broken by sexual and domestic violence. This is quiet work. We don’t learn the names of the people helped, nor should we.

Please read the list to the bottom because I believe you will begin to understand the essence of what sportingAcause is about. Hope.

Police Activities League (Torrington)

NWCT YMCA

Regional Food Bank of NENY

Youth Mission Outreach (Poughkeepsie)

Brain Injury Association of MA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (MA, NY CT)

Angels of Light (Hudson Valley)

Morris Elementary School PTO (MA)

Barkhamsted Elementary School

Arts Education at Olana Partnership

Bantam Lake Protective Association

Great Barrington Rotary Club

Berkshire Community College Nursing Program

Berkshire South Teen Outreach Nutrition Program

Alzheimer’s Association (MA, NY CT)

Litchfield Community Center

Bethlehem Fuel Bank

Berkshire County ARC

Camp Jewell YMCA

Burlington Community Fund

New Marlborough Cultural Council

Camphill Village

Action For Alex

Nick Biancucci Memorial Basketball Courts

Water or People

Cornwall Consolidated School

Berkshire County Kids Place

Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development

Lee High School Scholarship Fund

Dover Plains High School Scholarship Fund

United Way of Dutchess-Orange Counties

Upton Lake Christian School

Falls Village Volunteer Fire Dept.

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

People’s Pantry (Great Barrington)

Indian Mountain School

Housatonic Youth Service Bureau

Michael J. Fox Foundation

Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation

Ferncliff Forest Preserve

Free To Run

Make a Friend Be a Friend

Gilbert School Athletics

Junior Women’s Club of Litchfield Hills

Glenholme School

Goshen CT charities

Gould Farm

Porchlight VNA

Panichi Family Center for Communications and Learning

Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association

American Legion Post 178

Millerton Fire/Rescue Squad

EXTRAS (Salisbury)

Salisbury Central School 8th Grade

Right to Dream

Amenia Fire/Rescue Squad

Wassaic Fire Dept

High Watch Recovery Center Scholarship Fund

Litchfield Area Veterans

Running for Rescues

Volunteers in Medicine, Berkshires

Upper Housatonic Heritage Area

Relay for Life- American Cancer Society (MA, NY, CT)

Harwinton Handicap-Accessible Trail Fund

Eagle Santa Toy Fund

Litchfield Parks and Recreation

Berkshire United Way

Kent Food Bank

Julia’s Wings

Special Olympics, MA

Lee, MA High School Cross Country Program

Lenox, MA High School Cross Country Booster Club

Lenox Dale Fire Co.

Litchfield Youth Athletics

Scholarships for Litchfield, Wamogo and Forman Schools

Hartford Marathon Foundation

CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (Trail Maintenance)

Making Strides, Litchfield County

Brain Injury Association, NY

Dana Faber Cancer Institute

Miles For Hope Breast Cancer Foundation

Camp Moe Scholarships

Millbrook Early Childhood Education Center

MTM Scholarship Fund

Norfolk Land Trust

Norfolk Volunteer Fire Dept.

Norfolk Rails to Trails

Great Mountain Forest

NWCT CROP

Matt Herring Foundation

Peach Hill Park

Berkshire Medical Center Programs

Brodie Park

Morris Recreation Dept.

The Little Guild of St Francis

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

United Nations Association Adopt-A- Future

Great Barrington Land Conservancy

Culinary Institute of America Scholarship Fund

Northwestern Regional School District 7

Sandy Beach Restoration Fund

Bethlehem Food Pantry

CJ First Candle

Sharon Daycare Center

Sharon Recreation Center

MediShare

Sparrow’s Nest

St Mary’s School

Pine Plains recreation

Moments House

Autism Connections

Torrington Trails Network

Cancer Care Fund of Litchfield Hills

United Way of Dutchess County

Boy Scout Troop 114, Valatie, NY

Ichabod Crane Central School BackPack Program

Family Services Domestic Violence (Poughkeepsie)

Camp Wa Wa Segowea Scholarships

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Berkshire and Litchfield Counties

Prime Time House

Torrington Area Parkinson’s Support Group

National MS Society, MA, NY and CT

Construct

ALS Association

Parks and Recreation Wamogo Scholarship Fund

Sandisfield Library and Community Center

Massachusetts Audubon

Berkshire Humane

Adopt- A – Family

Amenia Fire Co.

Amenia Lion’s Club Scholarship Fund

Ancrum Fire Co.

Susan B. Anthony Project

FISH of NWCT

Community Kitchen of Torrington

McCall Foundation

Open Door of Winsted

Canaan VFW Scholarship Fund

Taconic Scholarship Fund

Charlie Ormsby Children’s Golf Clinic

Coarc

Columbia-Greene Community Foundation

Sheffield Kiwanis Club

Fairview Hospital Med-Surg Unit

College Possible

Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Berkshires

Millbrook Community Pre-School

EPIC Youth Empowerment Program

Grace Latino Outreach Program

Food For Life Pantry

Church Alliance Senior Housing

Harwinton Youth Sports Association

Hearts of the Father Outreach

Immaculate Conception Church of St. Martin of Tours Parish

Isaiah Lamb Fund

Canaan Exchange Club Scholarship Fund

Kara Zinke Emergency Fund

Kent Volunteer Fire Dept.

Knights of Columbus Scholarship Fund

Food Pantries of Woodbury, Watertown and Salisbury

Litchfield Sports Booster Club

Canaan Fire Co.

Maplebrook School Scholarship Fund

Oliver Wolcott Technical High School Scholarship Fund

Help Hope Live Northeast Transplant Fund

Possum Queen Foundation

Salisbury Central School

Salisbury Winter Sports Association

Salisbury Youth Hockey

Sharon Fire Dept.

Region One Athletic Fund

Stockbridge and Lenox Libraries

Torrington Area Families for Autism

St. Anthony of Padau and Our Lady of Grace Churches Scholarship Fund

Litchfield Sports Booster Club

Great Barrington Rotary Club Scholarship Fund

Roeliff Jensen Community Library

Thomas J. Berlinghoff Memorial Fund

Torrington Lion’s Club Scholarship Fund

All Hands Volunteers

Pearson School Playground

Sabin Institute

Torrington Youth Service Bureau

Hurricane Relief, Virgin Islands

Tanzanian Children’s Fund

Mekele School for the Blind

Northwest United Way

Jane Lloyd Fund

Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service

American Cancer Society

Bantam Lake Projects

Helping Hands FILAM Fund

Norfolk Curling Club

Sunday in the County Food Drive

CT Children’s Medical Center

Habitat For Humanity, Dutchess County

NWCT Rod and Gun Club

St. Peter/St. Francis School

Accelerate Brain Cancer Research

CT Brain Cancer Alliance

Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research

Special Olympics, CT

Housatonic Valley Regional High School Basketball Programs

Kenneth Krom Scholarship Fund

Mt. Everett High School Booster Club

Sharon Parks and Recreation

Litchfield High School Senior Class

New Hartford Land Trust

Sharon Fire Dept.

John Rice Scholarship Fund

Keri Perotti Scholarship Fund

Hudson River Housing

Donate Life

Corner Food Pantry

Karen DuCotey Fund for Kids

Burlington Parks and Recreation

St Paul’s Children’s Center

Be As You Wear

ALS Therapy Development Institute

Playground Golf Foundation

HVRHS Golf Team

Ryan McElroy Foundation

Lustgarten Foundation (for pancreatic cancer research)

Villa Veritas Foundation

Goshen Stampede Foundation

Premier Cares Foundation

Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County

Local VFW’s and American Legions

Torrington Child Care Center

Friends of Moe

Cornwall Food and Fuel

Falls Village Day Care

Food Banks of Region 1 towns

Project Playground

Torrington Parks and Recreation

Berkshire Rattlers

Center for Compassion

Salisbury Association

Sheffield Volunteer Hose Company

Sharon Hospital Bike Rodeo for Kids

Christopher Unsworth Scholarship Foundation

Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services

Servicenet

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Louison House

Women’s Support Services

Lake Waramaug Task Force

Washington Volunteer Ambulance

Washington Volunteer Fire Co.

State Police Explorers Post (Litchfield)

Steep Rock Association

Families United in Newtown

Fidelco Guide Dogs

Hospital For Special Care

Bike New York

Bike Walk Connecticut

Community Development Corp of South Berkshire

Cornwall Food and Fuel

Lakeville Pony Club

Church World Service

Happy 2020!

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