October 15, 2011, came without even the benefit of an alarm clock. Chester and I were much to nervous to wait for it to go off at 6am. I was up at 5:30am to get to our sister-in-law’s house to pick up two pound cakes for the dessert table of the golfer’s banquet we were having after the tournament. I had also wanted Krispy Kreme donuts for the coffee table to have for the golfers, before the tournament. My dilemma was that the new store about twenty minutes from my house, and my sister-in-law’s house was fifteen minutes north of mine, and I knew I would be hard pressed to do both and be back to my house to pick up my friend Katie, who has more tournament experience than I, and was helping me with registration, by 8:00am. I am sitting there in the parking lot of our corner store about a mile from Evansridge, the engine of the TC a low rumble, as dawn was lightening the sky around me, I made an executive decision, and instead of going south, went north to my sister-in-law’s. My plan was to pick up coffee items and Krispy Kreme donuts in a box at the nearest Food Lion.
My husband concerned about no one from the tournament would be there to greet golfers, that he left before any of the rest of us, and as it turned out, when he arrived, he only one there besides the grounds keepers. Jimmie, Katie’s husband, took time to get a bite on the way, while we brought up the rear of our group, with the registration paperwork and coffee pot.
We had only a couple of teams sign up. However, the people who came were old friends from past tournaments, another cause, another force of nature…our friend Cecil, who succumbed to cancer after a valorous battle six years ago. These guys, along with Jimmie, Cecil’s cousin, supported us and the tournament, the moment we contacted them. The balance of the teams were made up of judo athletes who played golf and one of Chester’s Veteran’s group participants and his friends.
The volunteers, who were friends, family and judo friends, help Katie and I make coffee, set up tables, set up the banquet room, take pictures and get the guys on the course. Then, they all found a cart and followed Chester and our other sister-in-law who, not only made the golf quilt for the tournament raffle, was also taking the tournament pictures.
I have always said, some of the most peaceful places on God’s green earth are National Parks and golf courses. They are also some of the most beautiful pieces of land you will find.
Bullcreek Golf Club is one of the few minority owned courses in the U.S. It was farmland that was worked on by the families that invested in the dream of having a local golf course. Having the tournament the second week of October allowed for the fall foliage to dress up the course. It was a mild fall day. We could not have asked for better weather for the golfers.
My good friends, Halima and Shelia, came to help in any way I needed. They had never been on a golf course before and loved the friendly competition of the team they followed. Our daughter, Courtney and her boyfriend “Boston”, gave us moral support and blessed us by just being there. Danielle, my new young friend, helped strategize about the banquet room and hang up the Judo banner. We had Bushido Judo of Durham dojo members come to the tournament to support us, and then were recruited to help set up the banquet room. Others came from the dojo to participate in the banquet and see the results of the competition. Everyone that participated voiced the common theme of the good time that was had by all and looking forward to the next year.
Looking back at it now, it seems so unnecessary, all our worry. The reality was, we had only participant experience in golf tournaments. To have Chester’s plan, that I put on a legal pad back in February, be realized that Saturday, was a feat by itself. To have all the participants, volunteers and family express their desire to be included the next year, was more than we had hoped for. We left the site of El Toro Fall Bash 2011, good wishes and the good will still very much present in our minds and hearts, looking in the rear view mirror course…until next year.