Wednesday, July 19, 2017


The End of an Era

I spent last Saturday roaming the hills north of Belleville at the Trillium Wood Golf Club. The were in the midst of the 30th Annual Rick Meagher-Medigas Celebrity Golf Tournament, helping raise funds for less fortunate individuals. When the tournament wrapped up, the event had raised more than three million dollars.

The tournament was the brainchild of Rick Meagher and friends. It just so happened that many of them worked at Medigas; however, Rick's family was also very involved at that time. As most of you know, it takes many hands to pull off a successful golf tournament.

On hand this year were many celebrities. To their credit, most of them stayed through the dinner and auction, and added to the fun. From the world of baseball, Kelly Gruber and Al Woods from the Blue Jays. Kelly lives in Texas nowadays, but likes to come to Canada to help out with events. He was on his way to another event in Prince Edward Island. I asked him if he planned to try a little lobster while in PEI. “No”, he replied. “ I plan to try a whole lot of lobster while I'm there!”

I spent the afternoon traveling nine holes on Rob Ray's golf cart, chatting about this and that. I congratulated him on his selection to the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame. Their Induction Ceremony takes place in September, and I do hope Rob will be able to attend. He spends his winters behind a microphone, chatting about Buffalo Sabres hockey. He also owns a restaurant in Buffalo, and often helps out there in the summer. Rob is in great shape, but confessed that he likes to nibble on the product while at work.
                                                      Rob Ray and Darryl Sittler

The ever-present cell phone sat between us on the golf cart. His eight year old son was playing against West Seneca in a ball tournament. Rob got several updates from his wife during the afternoon. He tried to mask his disappointment when he heard that his team was losing, and that his son had struck out. They also have a 13 year-old- daughter.

Rob Ray was a battler in the NHL, to say the least. His name is on everyone's list as one of the toughest guys ever to play the game. But he can also excell when it comes to verbal battles. Part of his foresome was the incomparable Bill Holmes, from Wellington. Right from the first tee, they became sparring partners, adding to the hilarity.

Doug Gilmour, Al Iafrate, Mike Palmateer, Wendell Clark, Stephane Richer, Dale Hawerchuk, Brad Richardson, Andrew Shaw, Derek name a few. They all stayed and chatted with friends and fans long after the last ball landed in the 18th hole.

Across the pond, Roger Federer raised the trophy yet again as the reigning Wimbledon singles champion. It was his 8th triumph at the tournament, and his 19th Grand Slam victory. Without question, he is the best male tennis p[layer ever to walk on the courts.

The Blue Jays suffered a humbling loss on Sunday against the lowly Detroit Tigers. They showed some life, winning one of the games in the Motor City. But walking in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning really stung. There are long days ahead for our Jays.

And the RED/BLACKS have yet to taste victory in Ottawa. Again this year, the western teams have dominated. Hope to see you soon for one of their games in Ottawa!

A tip of the old baseball cap to Keith MacDonald. A member of the Belleville McFarlands when they won the World Championship in 1959, Keith has been a community leader for decades in The County. (Please don't mention that I wrote that he is celebrating his 90th birthday!)

James Hurst
July 18, 2017.

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