Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 pm
Each year, there is something that moves me about the Vince Lombardi Golf Classic. When you carry the Lombardi name, there is an immediate sports recognition and level of excellence that comes with it.
Beyond the name is the level of commitment and impact that this event has on a disease that affects us all.
When Bart Starr talks, we listen. A few years ago Bart had asked a few of his teammates to stand and be individually recognized during our Friday Night Gala. There are many. Unknowingly, he forgot to ask Jerry Kramer, one of his best friends to stand.
The next day we golfed and had a wonderful tournament. Afterwards we held the awards ceremony. As usual, we asked Bart to address the winners. Before he did that he addressed Jerry. The room quickly filled with emotion as you could see the level of love and passion he had for his good friend. Jerry’s eyes watered, as did all of ours. Bart can move a room.
Last year, WTMJ sportscaster Greg Matzek was our Friday Night Gala emcee. It was Greg’s freshman year with us. We had been looking for something new, something fresh. We didn’t know what to expect. As the night began he asked everyone in the room to close their eyes. I did, but peeked to see if others had, and they did. He asked people to picture the five most important people in their lives. He then asked then to open them…And picture two of them now gone. Cancer takes two of five. Greg had moved the room. We were all in tears.
Like the two stories above, The Lombardi Golf Classic has transcended generations. We move people every year and provide them the experience of a life time. We’re proud of that and want celebrate the 43rd, 50th and 100th Classics. To sustain it we have retained our legends, brought in celebrities from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now to align with the generations of our participants and sponsors.
We have invested in electronic auction technology and social media. We have moved our Friday Night Gala downtown. We have re-engaged the media. We have listened to our participants. Last year, we sold out and set a record giving $125,000 to the foundation. This year we are sold out (in terms of foursomes) again.
We are where we should be and primed for another 43 years.
Ben Haas is the chairman of the Vince Lombardi Golf Classic and a member of the Lombardi Foundation board of directors. This year’s event will take place this weekend, (Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8). For additional information, visit www.lombardifoundation.org.