Comedy on the course

Quick, someone hide my clubs before I do any more damage.
I had never participated in a fundraising golf event before Monday’s inaugural Rick Pearson Memorial tournament, but it certainly was enjoyable to lend my time to helping the Kidney Foundation and the local dialysis unit.
But while the causes were good, my playing was far from the same. Having only been out on the Kitchen Creek course once before this summer, an accumulation of rust plus a lack of familiarity with the layout combined to make a long afternoon even longer—as I’m sure my playing partners (fellow Times writer David Freeman, his father, Brian, and Jen “Annika” O’Reilly from B-93 FM) will attest to.
Some of the highlights—and lowlights—of my 18-hole epic journey:
•My continual inability to hit anything that even remotely resembled a good drive, despite the fact that each person on the team had to count at least three of their tee shots.
After 16 holes, I had exactly one drive to my credit, which thereby left me no choice but to nail two-consecutive drives on our last two holes that were of some decent nature.
I’ll let you all imagine how well that worked out.
•Dave and his dad trading an avalanche of good-natured verbal jousts (“Gee, Dad, you hit that one fat, and I don’t mean your body structure”) which, at times, seemed destined to end with one of them tossing another one in a water hazard.
My money’s on the old man (just kidding, Brian).
•Witnessing the rare golfing accomplishment of a tee shot actually going backwards off the tee. And Jen thought she wasn’t a very good golfer (hey, not just anybody can make that shot).
•The fascinating anomaly of the number 61 in regards to the tourney (I’m fairly certain it represents not only the winning score, but the number of golf balls I zoomed into the woods over 18 holes).
•The contribution to our team effort at #15 by dedicated beverage cart guardian Lindsay Gustafson, who abandoned her post on my request after I learned she had never hit a golf ball in her young life.
I figured if she hit it 20 feet, it was better than another lost ball. She hit it at least 40. Well done, Lindsay, and thanks for saving me another walk through the trees.
•On the same hole, offering another hard worker (roving beverage cart driver Dusty Yeo) a chance to pitch my third shot onto the green. Being a southpaw shooter, she declined to use my right-handed clubs.
Little did she know the clubs didn’t work any better for right-handed players, either.
•Listening to Dusty’s revelation on the pace of her workday: “I’ve sold more beer today than I ever have.”
Upon hearing (and seeing) the boisterous and humorous antics of some of the playing groups we encountered, I was in no position to argue with her.
•Listening to the appreciation in the voices of Rick Pearson’s brother, Tom, and sister, Sonja Bodnarchuk, who co-organized the tournament, as well as tourney co-organizer and close family friend Nadine Johnson, for the turnout of all 36 teams and for the more than $7,000 raised.
Their few words spoke volumes about the importance of community spirit.
Here’s hoping the Rick Pearson Memorial has a long and healthy life in Fort Frances. It was an event worth the money and efforts of all those involved.
Now, if I can just figure out how to avoid the wrath of the MNR for leaving dents in all those trees. . . .
• • •
The Borderland Quarterhorse Club is holding its biggest show in several years at the Emo Fairgrounds this Friday through Sunday, running from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.
Club spokesman Heather Pryde said about 65 entrants are expected for the show, with riders bringing their horses from as far away as Dryden and Thunder Bay, as well as the States.
A penny table will be set up for spectators to bid on a variety of items, and the public is encouraged to attend what should be an impressive display of horsemanship.
• • •
Congratulations to Heather Dutton of Fort Frances, who crossed land and sea in Kenora in two separate and severe physical tests—and came out of both with podium finishes.
Dutton, 16, was third overall in the 17-km “Go Like a Goat” run as one of only two competitors under 19 in the race. She then went on to join Team Olympia—comprised of herself and other Kenora athletes—to win the Kenora Multi-Sport Day Triathlon.
The next conquest on Dutton’s sporting map is a half-marathon in Walker, Mn. next month.
• • •
I know this is crushing news to all four of my fans out there (three of whom I bribed), but “Sideline Passes” will be on a two-week hiatus while I spend my vacation back in my old stomping grounds of Alberta, playing best man at my brother’s wedding and seeing family and friends in Edmonton and Calgary.
I kindly ask all of you who are in charge of sporting events, teams, or who just want to supply sports-related information to do so as much as possible, so that my colleagues who are filling my shoes in my absence have the easiest time possible to piece together the paper’s sports section.
Thanks, and see you at the end of the month.

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