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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!