Sporting A Cause

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Seth Gardner

It has been an era of firsts for Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s own Seth Gardner, fresh from his return from Steamboat Springs, Colorado where he competed in this year’s Junior Nationals.

Seth is the first member of Team SWSA to jump off our 70  meter hill in many years. He also made the Junior National team four consecutive years and competed in the annual Junior National competition three times ( the fourth was COVID canceled).

At Steamboat, Seth came in 7th in the team category and jumped a personal best 58.5 meters in a field that included some of the best junior jumpers in the country.

Earlier this winter Seth ( far left in the picture) helped out with coaching duties for the junior jumping program, continuing a teaching tradition that dates back to the beginning of ski jumping in Salisbury.

We at SWSA are very proud of Seth’s accomplishments, and he certainly serves as a role model for our other junior jumpers who are coming along.

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Birdies for Charity

The Travelers and Travelers Championship announced a couple weeks ago that they would jointly match all donations, up to $1 million, made to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp after a devastating fire caused severe damage to their facilities.

This was welcome but not unexpected news. The Travelers Championship has been a long-time supporter of the Camp which provides camping experiences for 20,000 children with serious health issues every year. The Camp was founded by the late actor/philanthropist Paul Newman.

What many may not know however is that the Travelers Championships supports more than just-high profile charities. Much of the $1.6 million raised at last year’s Tournament came from the Birdies for Charity program which benefited well over a hundred area charities, both large and small. In our neck of the woods the Northwest CT Habitat for Humanity and the HVRHS Golf Team have both received support in recent years.

So here is what you can do for your favorite charity. Encourage them to sign up for Birdies for Charity (any charity in Connecticut or the Northeast is eligible ) and take advantage of the Travelers program as long as it is a 501c3 registered non-profit.

Once enrolled, your charity can gains access to the Travelers’ national fundraising platform to tell their story and use the program’s turnkey administration. Then Travelers will donate an extra 15% of whatever money your cause raises!

Although the Travelers Championship won’t be until June 21 – 27 this year now would be a good time to get involved. You can access the information here:

Good luck!

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What Will Be Our Take-Away?

The following letter appeared in the Jumpfest 2021 program that appeared as an insert in the February 3rd issue of the Lakeville Journal

What will be our take-away from the year just past?

We have seen it all, haven’t we?

Most of us have lost something – our freedom to move about as we’d like, our peace of mind, our dignity, our livelihoods, or for some, even our lives.

Schools and businesses have been shuttered , and we have been denied the company of our families and our friends. Fundraising events  for our beloved charities were canceled.  Some of us have had to swallow our pride and ask for food. Fear and distrust hang in the air like the virus itself.

But we humans are a good and resourceful lot, rising to our many challenges. At the pandemic’s beginning, when masks were in short supply, folks started sewing them and giving them away. As the demands on food banks increased, so too did food drives. Even restaurants with plenty of problems of their own, have gone above and  beyond to provide dinners for those who need them.

And this Christmas time when Santa could not host young visitors, he hopped on a fire truck and visited their homes.

As charities could not hold gatherings for their fundraisers they have relied more heavily than ever on their annual appeals, and donors have responded.

So it has been with SWSA this year. We lost the Brew Ski Fest, a major fundraiser,  but our Golf Tournament was successful and we shared our good fortune with the Jane Lloyd Fund. Our annual Ski Swap was a great success as eager shoppers stood for hours in the drizzle, and our very loyal and generous supporters have responded to our annual appeal.

Yes we have seen it all.

So what will be our take-away from the year just past?

Will there be continued fear and loathing from this too-long crisis, or will we recognize a light at the tunnel’s end along with its accompanying hope?

Here at SWSA, as we jump into 2021, we’re going with hope.

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Goodbye 2020


It’s been one heck of a year, has it not? Everyone has been hurt, one way or another, by the forces of the pandemic, including our cherished non-profits. Here at sportingAcause we have seen many sports-related fundraisers either canceled or altered  since March.

Below is a list of 130 fundraisers along with the benefiting charities that lost their events this past year. When you scroll down to the last event imagine another list of 150 more events that had to turn “virtual” or otherwise alter their programs. With few exceptions, these events fell far short of financial expectations.

Hopefully 2021 will allow us to resume our fundraising events, but, in the meantime, let us remember our favorite causes with our hearts and our checkbooks.

Bring on the Heat 4th Annual 5K  – Bethlehem Fuel Bank

Arlington Education Foundation 5K Run/walk – Science scholarships

Shane Kinsella Memorial 5 Mile/2 Mile  – local children’s charities

Upton Lake Christian School 4th Annual Eagle Run – Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary

Wellness 5K – Volunteers in Medicine, Berkshires

Kiwanis Kingston Classic   – area children’s charities

Berry Pond Hill Climb  – scholarships

Sean’s Ride   – Scholarships and anti alcohol and drug programs

Sean’s Run  –  scholarships and anti alcohol and drug programs

Girls Just Wanna Run   – scholarships, local and national charities

Rhinebeck Hudson Valley Full and Half  Marathons  – local charities

Retro 5K Run  – Morris Recreation Dept.

Thrill in the Hills Duathlon  – Litchfield Community Center

Norfolk Volunteer Fire Dept. 5 Mile Road Race   – Norfolk Volunteer Fire Co. programs

Relay For Life Berkshire County   – American Cancer Society

BMC Independence Day 5K – Berkshire Medical Center

Litchfield Hills Triathlon  Brodie Park

Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon – Washington Volunteer Ambulance

Sandy Beach Triathlon   – Sandy Beach Restoration Fund

Jane Lloyd Fund Bike Ride   – Pays living expenses for area cancer sufferers

Canaan Rail Road Days 5 Mile   – NW CT YMCA

Harlem Valley Rail Ride  – several local charities

Junk Yard Dogs Half  – Lustgarten Foundation (for pancreatic cancer research)

Tour of the Litchfield Hills   – Cancer Care Fund of the Litchfield Hills

Beach to Beach 5K   – Bantam Lake Protective Association

Torrington Donors Week Road Race    – Torrington Trails Network

Overdose Awareness Walk  – help for individuals struggling with addiction

High watch 3rd Annual Sprint for Sobriety 5K  – financial aid for addiction recovery

Lee Founders Day 5K  –  Lee High School cross country team

Relay For Life Litchfield High School  – American Cancer Society

Cerebral Palsy Walk   – Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County

Free to Run Trail Races  – support women and girls living in areas of conflict

Miles 4 Moe 5K  – Camp Moe

Roe Jan Ramble  – Housatonic Valley Rail Trail

Hogsback Half Marathon   – Running For Rescues (animal welfare)

Run for Your Knives   – scholarships

Apple Squeeze 5 Mile   – Morris Elementary PTO

Gould Farm Running for Recovery  – support programs for addiction recovery

Walk the Walk for Recovery   – Villa Veritas Foundation (addiction recovery)

Steep Rock 10K   – Washington, CT charities

Relay For Life Berkshires  – American Cancer Society

Fall Fest 5K Run/Walk  – Housatonic Youth Service Bureau

Fall Foliage 1/2 Marathon & 5K  – Michael J. Fox Foundation

Norfolk Tour de Forest  – Norfolk Rails to Trails

Steel Rail Half Marathon/ 8K  – Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Ryan’s Run    – Ryan McElroy Children Cancer Foundation,

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Litchfield Cty  – American Cancer Society

Berkshire healthcare Harvest Run  – Berkshire Healthcare

12th Annual Cider Run   – Wamogo scholarship Fund

Burlington 5K   – Burlington Community Fund

Hidden Valley Half Marathon  – Washington emergency services

Ed McGuire 20th Annual Cannonball Run  – Falls Village Volunteer Fire Co

Valatie Veterans 5K Run   – Valatie Boy Scout Troop 2114

Steep Rock Half Marathon  – local Washington charities

DWTA Turkey Raffle Run  – Center for Compassion

Great Barrington Turkey Trot, 44th Annual  – local charities

Jingle Bell 38th Annual 5K Run  – Litchfield Parks and Recreation

Jingle Bell Fun Run – Eagle Toy Fund

Litchfield/Morris Rotary & Litchfield Lions 19th Annual Golf Tournament  – Litchfield and Wamogo High school scholarships

Murphy Open  – Jane Lloyd Fund

4th Annual Isaiah Lamb Golf Classic  – Financial assistance to students with disabilities

Couch-Pipa Annual Golf Tournament  – Scholarships for Canaan and Falls Village students

Friends of Moe Golf Tournament  – Support for local families in need

Knights of Columbus Adam J. Mahalak Memorial Golf Tournament  – Local scholarships

Tournament for the Orphans   – support for orphanages in Ghana

James Ducillo Exchange Golf Tournament  – Canaan and Falls Village student scholarships

4th Annual Retro Dodge Ball Tournament  – Litchfield Education Fund

VFW Auxiliary Bunco Tournament  – VFW projects

Recreation Scholarship Benefit 3rd Annual Basketball Game  – Scholarships

Pittsfield Super Polar Plunge  – Special Olympics, MA

9th Annual Monopoly Tournament  – Berkshire County Kids Place

Ride 1 Rally   – Alzheimer’s Association

Spring Splash   – Jane Lloyd Fund and John Rice Scholarship Fund

Special Olympics NY Summer Games  – Special Olympics, NY

Goshen Stampede   – Goshen Agricultural Society

Salisbury Cricket Match  – Jane Lloyd Fund and Salisbury Ambulance

Round Hill 96th Annual Highland Games  – Alzheimer’s Association

Dutchess Dragon Boat Race   – Habitat for Humanity, Dutchess County

Jane Lloyd Fund Clambake  – Jane Lloyd Fund

Kentucky Derby Social   – Salisbury Rotary for local high school scholarships

Goshen Fair  – Scholarships

Bethlehem Fair   – Scholarships

Brew Ski Fest   – Salisbury Winter Sports Association

Trans Am Fall Classic   – Alzheimer’s Association

IMSA Northeast Grand Prix   – Alzheimer’s Association

Norfolk Curling Club Bonspiels  – Norfolk Curling Club programs

United Way and Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament – United Way and golf scholarships for children

United Way Glo-Ball Tournament – United Way of NW CT

Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament –  Berkshire County ARC programs

Maplebrook School Golf Tournament –  scholarships

Litchfield Open –  Litchfield Sports Booster Club

Torrington Child Care Center Golf Tournament – funds Care Center activities

John V. Ventetti  K of C Golf Tournament – scholarships

Immaculate Conception Church Golf Outing – fund ongoing church maintenance

Oliver Wolcott Golf Scramble  – scholarships

Torrington/Winsted Rotary Golf Tournament –  funds a variety of local charities

Drive For a Cure – supports a local family with health challenges

Great Barrington Rotary Club Golf Tournament –  scholarships

Salisbury Youth Hockey Golf Tournament  – supports the Salisbury Youth Hockey program

Tee Up 4 Autism –  supports Torrington Area Families for Autism

Earth Angels Fight Against Cancer Golf Tournament –  supports Moments House

Ice Bucket Open  –  ALS Association , Connecticut Chapter

Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament –  supports Fire Co. programs

Torrington Lion’s Club –  scholarships and eye research

HYSB Annual Golf Tournament – supports programs of Housatonic Youth service Bureau

John Foley Lone Oak Challenge Golf Tournament –  Canaan Fire Co.

Salisbury Central School Golf Tournament –  supports eighth grade class trip

Hearts of the Father Golf Tournament –  supports educational programs in Africa

UNICO Golf Tournament –  supports Torrington area charities

Gerald Miller Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires Golf Tournament – supports Boys and Girls Club

Fairview Golf Classic – funds new hospital equipment

Kara Zinke Golf Tournament –  supports local families in need

Gilbert School Blue & Gold 5K – supports school athletic programs

Gilbert School Blue & Gold Golf Tournament – supports Gilbert School athletic programs

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A Thanksgiving Story

Patrick Quinn died Sunday at age 37 after a seven-year battle with ALS. He was a brave man- you have to be brave when you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

The degenerative neuromuscular disease eventually robs its host of nearly every bodily ability, even swallowing. But the disease leaves the mind intact.

And Patrick used his mind to the utmost. He is credited with co-creating along with two other ALS sufferers, the hugely popular Ice Bucket Challenge  which in 2014 raised $220 million for the ALS Association.  If you’ll remember, people, including many celebrities, took selfies being doused with buckets of ice water and challenged their friends to do the same.

That funding allowed the Association to make important advances for treatments for ALS, in eye movement communication technology and helping patients and their families cope with the disease. Many lives have been made better because of the efforts of Patrick and his friends.

These advances have allowed what Patrick called “a new sense of hope”.

So, what does this story have to do with Thanksgiving?

Well isn’t hope really the unheralded twin of gratitude?

When we give thanks for what we have today, is there not an implied hope for tomorrow?

However you choose to celebrate, we at sportingAcause wish you a safe and thankful day.

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Entry Fee:  $40.

What you get:  running jacket, winter hat,  participation medallion.

Portion of entry fee to charity:  $ 0.

You may have noticed the explosion of  Virtual Runs on Facebook lately, but not all of them are what they seem. Some of them are local races supporting local causes that have turned virtual because of the pandemic. I have many of them here on

But a huge wave of what I call manufactured events have washed ashore with names like Smashed Santa Races, Wine Run Turkey Trot, Run for the Dogs, Face Mask Run and the one described above- America’s Turkey Trot.

These “fundraiser” virtual races provide a lesson in Buyer Beware.

America’s Turkey Trot, for example, has partnered with Feeding America, a nation-wide hunger charity, but the word “partner” is open to interpretation.

Although America’s Turkey Trot boasts Feeding America as a partner, no money from your entry fee will go to the charity. Instead, when you register (and pay), you will be encouraged to write your own check to support the work of Feeding America. Not quite what you thought, right?

Is this illegal? – no.

Is it unethical? – um…

Is it transparent? Absolutely not!

To be fair, probably some  will write an additional check to Feeding America, and that’s a good thing.

But the takeaway here is that if a virtual “fundraiser” event does not tell you exactly how much of your money is benefiting whom,  then sign up for a local event instead, one that maybe supports a food bank in your town, one that tells you how much of your entry fee goes to help your neighbors.

Now that’s transparency!


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“The Times They Are A- Changin”

“The Times They Are A- Changin” Bob Dylan sang almost 60 years ago, and they are A-Changin still. Because of the pandemic, many of our most cherished non-profits have been forced to cancel crucial fundraisers. At some of those charities have devised alternative events to try to recapture some of what they lost to COVID-19.

Here are two very worthy local non-profits who are holding raffle-style fundraisers- Sunday In The Country Food Drive which provides 600 holiday turkey dinners to deserving residents in tri-state towns, and the Salisbury Rotary Club which helps out local food banks, provides COVID assistance and scholarships to Region 1 students.

Here are the details for both:

The Sunday in the Country Food Drive will pull the lucky numbers on November 1st for these great prizes:

$100 gift certificates to Daisy Hill Farm, North East Muffler, Herrington’s, and Silamar Farm Market.  And $200 gift certificates to Taylor Oil, 52 Main, and Black Rabbit Bar and Grille. Also up for grabs is a Thanksgiving dinner worth $200 from McEnroe Organic and a handmade Star throw quilt by Krista McGhee.

Tickets cost $10 each or six for $50. You can buy them at Herrington’s, 52 Main and the Black Rabbit Bar and Grille, or call Bill Anstett at 845 206-5938.

The Salisbury Rotary Club offers a winner-take-all $10,000 prize which will be drawn on November 17th. Only 2500 tickets will be sold. You can buy yours for $10 each one of two ways: Either send a check made out to Salisbury Rotary Club Foundation and mail it to Peter Fitting, P.O. Box 646, Salisbury, CT 06068, or go to, click on the “Donate” button UNDER the “$10,000 Cash Raffle” heading. Be sure to click on the “cash raffle” option.

For more information call Rotary President Peter Fitting at 860 672-5709.

Please support these fundraisers if you are able. Their ability to do their good work in our neighborhoods depends on it. As Dylan also sang “If Not For You”…

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They call it “food insecurity”

They call it “food insecurity” these days.

I don’t like that.

It makes it sound less tragic than what it really is: Hunger-  stomach- rumbling, one-meal-a-day hunger. The hunger crisis was already bad enough, but the pandemic has made it worse. Much worse.

Thank God there are organizations to address this plight. The Corner Food Pantry in Lakeville is one of them. It serves people from Pawling, NY to Torrington, CT without turning anyone away.

They are quick to tell you that they are blessed with generous donors who help keep the doors open, but the need grows. The Pantry serves 75 to 100 families (around 400 people) a week, and those ranks have been growing by one or two families every week.

The Little Guild in West Cornwall takes care of our furry population. They are a no-kill facility that rescues, nurtures and finds forever homes for dogs and cats. Like the Corner Pantry, The Little Guild has loyal supporters, but although adoptions are up, donations are down, the pet food pantry is dwindling. The Guild’s biggest fundraiser, the Run and Wag 5K  has turned virtual this year. We’ll see how that goes.

But today (Saturday) several huge-hearted organizations got together to run a food drive for both the Corner Pantry and the Little Guild. The Tri-State Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury Bank & Trust, NW CT Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Lime Rock Park Catering and Salisbury Rotary joined forces to run a Donation Drive at the Lakeville Methodist Church. These are both businesses that give year round to their communities and non-profits that could probably use some help themselves. But today their efforts went to help others. And help they did. Tina Hogan from the Alzheimer’s Association told me the Drive was a “Great Success”.

Thank you all for what you do!


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I Missed the Point

I have blogged often about the large crowds that turn out for the many “Walk” fundraisers in the Tri-State area. Those throngs are a testament to the dedication of so many who support the fight against the plagues on humanity like Alzheimer’s, ALS, hunger, suicide and many more- too many more.
But I’ve missed the point. The true value here is not in the crowds that walk for these causes but in the individuals.
You see, each individual in that crowd is a fundraiser. For reasons of their own – often they’ve lost a loved one to a disease, they labor for months before the first step of the Walk. They solicit friends, family, neighbors and coworkers for pledges. They set up fundraising pages to reach a wider audience. Each person’s devotion to the cause is the reason for the success of the Walk, and their aggregate can add up to stunning financial results.
Here are some of those folks who are fundraising for their causes along with links to their fundraising pages. If you have the ability to help any or all of these causes, bless your heart! You will not only be participating in worthy causes, you will be helping to bolster the resolve of these good people in their efforts.
Nicole Roy is raising money for the ALS Foundation . Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated for eight years in the Ride to Defeat ALS . Nicole lost her father Paul to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Her link is
Marlane White and Tina Hogan are both deeply involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Not only will they be walking , they have worked tirelessly to organize the event . Its success will be due largely to their efforts.
Thomas Sherwood is walking with Team Joey in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Thomas lost his brother Joey to suicide. You can find his fundraiser at
And Amy Truax will be walking in the Northwest CT CROP Hunger Walk which will be held virtually this year. Without the energy and connection that comes with a “live” event, it will be all the more important to support individuals like Amy to make these virtual Walks successful. Amy’s link is…/SheffieldAshleyFalls.
To find details about these and other worthy sports-related fundraisers visit .
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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

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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