A Red Hook team member hits out of a bunker at Raineer Golf & Country Club during the Chief Sealth High School golf tournament June 1. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE
SLIDESHOW: Golfing With a Purpose; Sealth Golf tournament supports their athletic department
by Kaelyn Sayles
The grill sizzled under the cooking hot dogs as chatter and laughter mixed with golf clubs cracking against balls nearby and jets flying overhead.
Friday afternoon, 66 players and about 20 volunteers gathered at the Rainier Golf and Country Club in support of the second annual Chief Sealth International High School Athletics Golf Tournament.
Proceeds from the tournament will go toward helping the Sealth athletic department provide their student-athletes with the funds they need to succeed.
Sealth Athletic Director Sam Reed said one of his philosophies is that the kids shouldn't have to be salespeople in order to play. So instead, the golf tournament provides supporters of Sealth athletics with another outlet for fundraising.
With rising costs of pay-to-play, coaches, parents, alumni and friends, student-athletes and even Reed grabbed their golf clubs and headed out to the course despite the rainy start.
Reed said he hopes for a few things to be accomplished this year: raise funds, have fun and come back next year.
"It's very humbling for me to see all of you come out," Reed said before the shotgun start. The goal of this is to "take the job (of fundraising) out of our coaches' and out of our student-athletes' hands."
Reed is already starting to plan for next year as he hopes the tournament will continue to grow from year to year.
He is pleased with the support the athletic department has received and wants to see that support maintained.
“I’m looking more long term at it and hoping to get something that will last and that people will keep coming back even if their kids don’t go to school here or even if they stop volunteering, coaching here or whatever it is, that they continue to have a good feeling toward Chief Sealth and our athletic program,” Reed said.
This tournament provided coaches with the opportunity to meet members of the Sealth community.
In fact, one of the reasons that gymnastics coach Echo Balliett-Legge volunteered to help out was to meet supporters of Sealth athletics.
Balliett-Legge directly sees how fundraisers can help the athletic department. For the first time in about 15 years, Chief Sealth will have its own gymnastics team. In previous years, they teamed up with West Seattle.
For the 2012-2013 season, Sealth has the daunting task of buying all their own gymnastics equipment.
This golf tournament has inspired Balliett-Legge and other coaches to have sports-specific fundraisers as well.
Balliett-Legge wants to have a bowling tournament to benefit the gymnastics team. She said holding an event is nice because it doesn’t solely depend on student-athletes having to go to their parents and doing all the work.
Kelli Horn is a parent of three Sealth student-athletes, two of whom were on the golf team and played in the tournament on Friday.
As she drove around in a golf cart helping out and watching her sons play, she stopped to reflect on what the fundraiser means to the students.
Horn said that both her sons played last year and they had a positive experience, so she came out this year to support them as they decided to participate again.
She said that with the money raised at last year’s tournament, they were able to buy better, safer equipment and uniforms and bags that matched, which makes the kids feel good about themselves.
You look good, you play good, right?
One of the things Reed has been able to do with the funds is purchase Sealth athletic bags for all of the varsity athletes.
Claudia Diama-Rose, Sealth alum and parent, said it’s almost like the student-athletes stand a little taller with confidence when they wear their bags.
Diama-Rose is on the board of Friends of Sealth, the alumni association for the school, and one of the areas they strive to support is athletics. She volunteered last year at the tournament and said that in comparison, the enthusiasm and support has grown.
“Our students really rely on these types of fundraisers,” Diama-Rose said. “So many athletes that are excellent students and excellent athletes can’t afford to participate in sports.”
Her son, who graduated from Sealth, was out on the links playing. Her daughter, a sophomore student-athlete, came to the country club after school so she could perform two cheers with the eight other new cheerleaders.
Looking around the course gratefully, Diama-Rose spoke quietly over the sound of rhododendron bushes swaying in the wind.
“Having opportunities like this, this is a private golf and country club…they open it up to this type of public school event, it’s fabulous. It’s really, truly a privilege,” Diama-Rose said.
After players and volunteers made their way back from the course, everyone filed into the club’s dining room to eat, chat and have an awards ceremony.
Cody Horn, Kelli’s son who is a senior at Sealth, addressed the crowd.
As a graduating student-athlete who participated in golf, tennis and swim team, Cody had nothing but praise for his coaches during his time at Sealth. On top of that, he wanted to let supporters know what their fundraising efforts mean to him, someone who directly benefits as an athlete.
I want to “thank everyone here for their generosity and contributing to the athletic program,” allowing student-athletes like me to play, Cody said.
Last year, Reed said they made a profit of a little over $5,000. They’re still waiting on getting numbers together for what they profited from the fundraiser this year, but regardless, Reed wanted to thank everyone for their continued generosity with their time, energy and money.
Closest to the pin on hole #6: Davie Hendrix – 10’4”
Closest to the pin on hole #15: Mike Grubsch – 6’1.5”
Long drive on hole #7: Jim Boyer
Long drive on hole #16: Michael Hoffeman
Putting contest winner: Darren Forsell
4th place with a score of 65: Darren Forsell, Eric Elliott, Tim Ronish and Randy Bittermann
3rd place with a score of 64: Michael Umbach, Cecil Simms, Peter Umbach and Dtim Umbach – won four box seats to the Mariners vs. Rangers game
2nd place with a score of 62: Sue Lindblom, Andy Barnes, Andy Knapp and Matt Moran – won the opportunity to play at the Rainier Golf and Country Club again
1st place with a score of 61: Davie Hendrix, Jim Icorn, Steve Hopkins, Wayman Robinett – won four $100 pro shop gift certificates and four box seats to a Sounders game.
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