Of all the economic areas devastated around the world by COVID-19, it’s probably fair to place the combination of charity and golf near the top of some lists.
Year after year, thousands of scramble tournaments are incredibly valuable: they’re a sports-lover’s way to raise funds for virtually every worthwhile cause under the sun. Lining up from June until late summer and beyond, service clubs, large and small companies, political groups, religious organizations line up to do their bit. Often, it’s more than a little bit.
Telephone calls and emails go out early and often. Committees scour the region to find inducements most likely to encourage participants to play at a nearby course for a reasonable price – with the understanding that some gifts will be granted and a lot of steaks will be eaten. But the big winners will be parts of the public that, it seems, always need and deserve more help than the existing welfare system can provide.
Celebrities are certain to get a lengthy list of playing opportunities. Having Edmonton Oilers or Edmonton Eskimos set for a tee time is one way to attract additional players and therefore additional funds. Former defensive back Larry Highbaugh once said he he had enough invitations to play in a separate tournament each week all summer. Entertainment personalities have special value, as well.
One tournament, conducted so far for nearly 20 years by the Cosmopolitan Clubs of St. Albert, Edmonton and Sturgeon Valley, is far from the largest or most significant of these events, but for 15 years club members were kind enough to label it The John Short Classic.
My thoroughly enjoyable contribution on the second Tuesday of June for 15 consecutive years was to greet players and needle volunteers. The tournament could be called a classic only on condition that I did not touch a golf club with serious intent. Fact is, I love golf far too much to desecrate it by playing as badly as I do. Good friend Rod Randolph, a key part of the Cosmopolitan commitment for more years than I was, once told me of a sure-fire way to get early attention at a coming speech: “show them your golf swing.”
Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and former Oiler great Dave Semenko played in that tournament. Rob Brown, once a high-scoring linemate of Mario Lemieux, found ways to contribute on several Tuesdays – most of which were soggy and cold and windy, perfect opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and benefit others.
It is a daunting task to estimate how many of these charitable tournaments take place on the Edmonton region’s 50-or-so golf clubs each summer. Or how many will finally take shape this year. But personal knowledge of The Ranch, Stony Plain and Cougar Creek provides assurance that when conditions change, local professionals will be ready with open dates for these valuable events.
Early word is that area courses are in great shape. Randolph applied the adjective when describing his 84 after 18 holes on Wednesday at Mill Woods in a Men’s League game. “Not bad,” he said. “A pair of 42s when I’ve been collecting rust for seven months; I can deal with that.” Like a lot of golf addicts, he can deal with almost anything – except another shutdown.
Volunteers help offset food insecurity being experienced by Edmontonians
September 30, 2020
A new study confirms more families are experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19. The disturbing trend was offset by volunteers, who mobilized to fill the gap to help families during the health crisis.
Edmonton-AB- A new survey reveals a concerning trend of more Edmontonians facing food security issues because of the pandemic. Volunteers can’t keep up and a city strategy is desperately needed.
Over the past two months, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) in partnership with the Canadian Volunteers United in Action (CANAVUA) administered an online survey. Volunteers helped connect with the hard to reach population with street interviews. The survey of 127 people revealed a quarter of respondents were unable to access sufficient food for their families and more than half did not seek help with social advocacy agencies. Nearly forty percent of families also found it difficult to find culturally appropriate food.
Renee Vaugeois, Executive Director, of the John Humphrey Centre, added “The YEG Community Response to COVID19 Facebook group grew exponentially overnight, with more than 20,000 members and has served over 30,000 in the community in 6 months. Volunteers filled the need and continue to help the marginalized access much needed support. While this effort continues to fulfill basic needs it’s only a band-aid. It’s critical to develop a city-wide intentional strategy, which should include the voices of those facing food insecurity.”
The study also found barriers to food access were reported in West, Central, and North Edmonton. Many respondents reported loss of employment, reduction in support income, and rising grocery prices as reasons contributing to going without.
The findings were presented to the food distribution table, a city-led initiative including agencies dedicated to helping with food security. The Centre will conduct more research next quarter to monitor the situation and continue to inform food security efforts in the City.
Read more on Todayville.
Mrdjenovich preps for fight in LA while YEG council waffles on allowing a return to the ring
Edmonton’s leading fight personality, and clearly the city’s outstanding boxer in history, faces a chance to do “something therapeutic for myself” and shake off the effects of this everlasting coronavirus.
Of course, Jelena Mrdjenovich means returning to the ring where she has won at least 10 professional championships since she started her boxing career in 2003.
“We’re negotiating right now on a fight in Los Angeles,” she said Wednesday. “There are a lot of complications but I think everything can be done in time for a fight in November.”
Preparing for a bout in a foreign country, including the setup of a training camp, is more difficult than might be imagined. Sparring partners are always available but workout schedules often need to be adjusted. These are minor adjustments, Jelena said, “It’s important to remember there would have to be 14 days of isolation at some point.”
She reigns as women’s world featherweight title-holder in at least one of the three major international boxing regulators. Obviously, there has been little competition in her bracket — or any other boxing bracket — for the last six months or so, but she says the challenge of getting into top shape is no different for her these days.
“I always do my best to stay active,” she said. “There are always complications, but with my (downtown) boxing club, I’ve been doing quite a few virtual classes. I’m probably closer to my (126-pound) fighting weight right now than when I usually start working out for a fight.”
In every conversation about her sport for the last three or four years, the 38-year-old champion has been asked when she will give up boxing. Before the COVID-inspired interruption, she had reached the 50-bout milestone which she once openly considered her gateway to retirement, “but now I’ve got some other major issues to handle.”
One of them, obviously, is the future of her sport and the organization, KO Boxing Edmonton, that has kept the pro game alive in this city for several years.
Within the last few weeks, there has been encouragement and then discouragement. Promoter Mel Lubovac said Alberta Health Services has granted permission for boxing competitions under firm control and obviously without public involvement.
“Now, the city has refused permission,” said the daughter of Milan Lubovac, a boxing mainstay in Alberta for decades and Mrdjenovich’s trainer-manager throughout her impressive career.
“I’ve said for a long time that this city’s administration is absolutely opposed to combat sports. Some people say the council has no real interest in any sports. There is no reason for this attitude. It’s embarrassing.”
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