Senesi Classic continues to flourish

By Ivan Sanders

   There's not a better combination than raising money for a good cause while having fun working the event.
   If you don't believe that, just ask any of the participants of the Dino Senesi Golf Tournament, held to benefit the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club, played at the Elizabethton Golf Course Monday afternoon.
   "Any time you can put the two together, it makes for a happy combination," said tournament organizer Dino Senesi. "It just leads to satisfaction that is immeasurable."
   A sky holding a beautiful pre-summer sun painted a glorious picture over the rolling hills containing 18 holes of splendid golf for 144 participants in the event, which started seven years ago to provide financial help in keeping the local Boys and Girls Club alive and well.
   Said Senesi: "The day has absolutely thrilled me to death. It's kind of like the Appalachian Fair. We just keep getting bigger and better than ever. There was plenty of fun and food and the players had all the water and soft drinks they could handle throughout the day."
   Not only does the tournament draw several prolific local players, but it also has the reputation of drawing faces that are known to many who keep up with the University of Tennessee sports programs.
   "Johnny Chavis and Bob Kessling were big hits on the course today," stated Senesi of the defensive coordinator of the Vols and the voice that has taken the place of beloved Vol announcer John Ward.
   Chavis brought some Vol items that turned into big hits in the silent auction as well, with a Volunteer helmet that garnered $500 in the auction, according to Senesi. Two basketballs signed by Tennessee head coaches Buzz Peterson and Pat Summit were also available in the silent auction.
   Outback Steakhouse provided lunch for the event.
   "I couldn't believe it when they brought out the grilled chicken and filet mignon steak," said Senesi. "I asked them if they would come back next year and they said they 'sure.'"
   The fun and food were only a side dish as to the real reason behind the tournament, according to Senesi.
   "Two years ago we raised $38,000, and last year we tallied around $28,000 for the club," stated Senesi. "After we get all the pledges in this year we are hoping for around $30,000 to benefit the club."
   Senesi has had ties to the Boys and Girls Club for nearly 30 years and is pleased that they now have a place they can call their own.
   "I remember when we bounced around from basements to attics just to be able to have a facility for the kids," quipped Senesi. "We are able to serve a lot more kids as a result and have some of the best basketball facilities around in our present location."
   Senesi was still very hyped even after a full day at the course and had some words of wisdom to the community on how they could uphold the Boys and Girls Club, even when there is no golf tournament.
   "The club always needs financial and moral support all year long," said Senesi. "This is a positive thing for our community and if they could see what happens there they would be less apprehensive when they are asked to give to the club."
   Plans were already being made by those in attendance to get their named logged for next season's tournament. If this year's turnout was any indication, the field might grow even more for next year.
   **Writer's Note: There was another special guest in the field this year. Jerry Thomas, who has worked hard to participate in this event, played to show his support for the youth of the community even though he has been struggling with some health problems. The real winners of a tournament like this are often those who have gone the extra mile just to reach the first tee box.