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A feel-good day

POSTED August 02, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                                        A feel-good day

            Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,200-1,500 people show up in torrential rains to offer support for a friend suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). About 15 miles away, an enterprising sports fan builds a six-hole golf course on his own property to help raise money for a field restoration fund.

            Sometimes in the world of complainers, pseudo writers who have an opinion but little else and those who confuse privilege and right it is nice to be reminded of the other side. Those who choose to build up instead of break down, those who would give not just their right arm, but their left arm and any other body part to help out, those who take the time to say thanks to show they care.

            They are out there on a daily basis, but we were given a full dose of reminder last Saturday on a day when Mother Nature showed her grumpier side and was frankly, ignored and told to take it somewhere else.

            Tim Considine, a superb athlete in his younger days from Torrington, is in the fight of his life with Lou Gehrig’s disease. His battle has been well documented in both the Waterbury Republican and here on in a several outstanding articles by Roger Cleaveland and Tim Gaffney respectively.

            If Considine needed to know how many people he has touched, he found out at Action Wildlife in Goshen as scores of friends and volunteers approaching 100 flicked the weather conditions off their shoulder and showed up to say, “we care.”

            Just over the Thomaston, Litchfield border in Northfield, Brian  `Skider’ Fairchild was doing his thing to help out. The cause may not have been as dramatic as what was going on in Goshen for Considine. There was no human drama here. Yet, it was a gesture beyond the normal to raise funds to help fix up Thomaston’s only baseball field.

            Fairchild, a former softball player and an avid golfer these days, owns quite a bit of property. Let’s just say more than we own. Let’s just say more than 50 acres and that is conservative. Let’s just say you could get lost on his property. We joke about a `North 40’, Fairchild has a `North 40’ and more.

            He was mowing the hay this spring and the lush grass ignited an idea, `Why not have a golf tournament.’ So, he laid out six holes, put some greens in and organized his tournament.

            Now, we’re not talking about Master’s conditions here. The fairway grass at times was three inches. One fairway had two mounds of dirt in the middle. The greens rolled with the smoothness of a road that hasn’t been paved in two decades. Driving on the greens was encouraged. Fairchild is not going into the Country Club business. But, the par-22 was playable.

            He invited 48 people (all the course cold handle) and set up a 12-hole scramble invitational. Guys dressed in Hawaiian shirts, women in whatever they wanted. He went out and purchased old golf carts and golfers were driven to the clubhouse area in an old hay wagon pulled by a John Deere tractor.

            The clubhouse area consisted of two tents on a man-made plateau and an old horse barn that was nearby. There were cooks for the dogs and burgers he provided and libation director ready to start your day off right.

            There was a giant scoreboard created by his wife, Lady Elise, and trophies for the winners and the Outhouse Award for the losing team. Coolers were deemed mandatory for the carts.

            The first 24 golfers went out and played six holes, turned the carts over to the next 24 golfers and had two hours to do whatever.  As with the throng that attended Tim Considine’s benefit, the rain was at most a mild irritant.

            Those in attendance will play on better courses and putt on better greens. They won’t be brought to the first tee by tractor, although I do think it was a John Deere and what is better than that.

            But, I will wager, they won’t have a better time.  In the end, more than $2,500 was raised for the cause and nobody went home unhappy. In fact some did not want to go home. Listen to long time area referee and umpire Jack Wright.

            “I’m not going home, I’m staying right here until next year,” said Wright.

            The volunteers who helped put together Tim Considine’s benefit and people like Fairchild and those who helped him are special but not unique. This goes on all the time. Scan your papers and note all the benefit golf tournaments, past suppers and the likes  for athletic teams or people who need aid. There are many.

            Sometimes, however, they seemed to be drowned out by the negative, those whose adrenilin is activated by the desire to tear down instead of build up. So we were reminded Saturday about the faithful, about those who care, about the positive, about the good nature of people.

            On a rainy day, the sun shone. It was nice to see.

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