After the crazy-busy month June was, summer is finally here. Technically, summer has been here for a few weeks now but lots of time has passed between when I wrote this and when you’re reading it. Now that I’m not traveling to races, finishing up the school year or studying like crazy, I finally have the opportunity to reflect on the awesome experience I had at the Drive for Autism Celebrity Golf Tournament.
Its difficult to believe that the tournament was over a month ago. The experiences I had and the fun that tagged along created long lasting memories.
One detail that made tournament day so special was all the anticipation leading up to it. It all started last June (2013) when I was in Myrtle Beach, SC. While sitting on my hotel room’s balcony, I first found out about the outing.
To say I was excited would be an understatement. Once the initial “this is beyond awesome” feeling wore off, I realized that it was 11 months away. I would almost be finished with my sophomore year by then. That was very hard to believe at the time.
Eleven months seemed like forever initially. However, reflecting back on it, time sped by. And just like that, I came home from school on May 28th and hit the road for Delaware.
Social media played a huge part in the entire Dover weekend. First of all, I was providing social media updates for the tournament. Also, I would get to meet, work with, and hang out with a great friend who I had come in contact with through twitter.
There’s no truth to the belief that you can’t find awesome people online. If it hadn’t been for a shared racing passion, I probably would have never come in contact with one of the coolest people I have ever met, Alanis King. I had such a blast braving the cold weather at the tournament with her and having a great time doing something each of us would love to do in the future.
The day I had been anticipating for months started out early. Once I arrived at the golf course, it was time to scope out the area and check out all the different things going on.
First up was a NASCAR Sirus XM show hosted by Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone. They were broadcasting live at the country club that morning and watching them do their job was indeed cool to see. I don’t have Sirus XM radio so I definitely enjoyed listening to a show I’m rarely able to.
Celebrities, most of whom were associated with NASCAR, started arriving after that. I enjoyed getting to watch everyone enter, especially J.J Yeley and Michael Waltrip who were kind enough to say hello.
Drivers would stop and greet some Autistic children on their way to the ballroom. A highlight of the day for me was seeing them interact with the children as it put a smile on everyone’s faces.
Next up was tee time. As I made my way outside, a little surprise came with the weather as it was freezing. It had to be in the 50’s which I certainly didn’t prepare for.
Once golfers found their starting holes, I rode around the course to grab as many pictures as I could. First, I found Kyle Larson and Elliott Sadler teeing off. Larson’s hit may not have gone so great, but Sadler’s definitely did.
Darrell Waltrip was one of the first golfers I stopped to chat with. It was a neat experience chatting with the Hall of Famer about racing.
I later found the Dillon brothers who thankfully noticed I may be in the way of where they were hitting and suggested I move. They were extremely nice to talk to and fantastic golfers.
Next came a funny conversation with Joey Logano as he admitted he’s not an avid golfer and rarely plays. However, it was nice that he came out to support a great cause.
In addition to speaking with Mike Joy a few times, I helped him warm up on the cold day by bringing him a cup of coffee which I’m sure he enjoyed.
This pretty much sums up my day at the tournament. The experience was unlike any other. Reflecting back on the day makes me realize what an opportunity it was. I admire the hard work of everyone involved who made it a success. Lastly, I thank them for inviting me to be a small part of it.