Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tappy Tap Tap Tapparoo

It might still be May, but on the greens of Mitchell’s Golf Complex last weekend, the action was reminiscent of a Monday Night at M&T Bank Stadium. There was drama. There was trash talking. There was a DJ, door prizes, and an ice cream break.

Okay, so maybe the game day comparison is a bit of a stretch, but there were at least a few Ravens on the field this past Saturday at the first annual Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. Miniature Golf Tournament, hosted by Daniel Wilcox (yes, of rival blog, 83 Degreez). The event raised money for Wilcox’s foundation, which provides young people in Baltimore with growth and learning opportunities they might not otherwise have a chance at. To help the cause, Wilcox and a few of his famed friends played a little putt-putt. Apparently the event organizers caught Wilcox “doing the bull dance, feeling the flow” at AD’s charity golf event last year and thought #83 might be better suited for windmills rather than Winged Foot.

The ‘professionals’ in attendance included Quinn Sypniewski, Evan Oglesby, Justin Green, Romby Bryant, Attiyah Ellison, and straight from the shores of Miami – Ed Reed. Bart Scott showed up just in time for dessert, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Another famous face on hand for the event was Nathan Corbett of HBO’s, “The Wire”. Appropriately, Corbett plays “Donut” on the Baltimore-based series, as he spent the entire afternoon looking for the hole. Ba-Dum-CHING!

The funny thing about watching 6-foot tall football players play miniature golf is watching 6-foot tall football players play miniature golf. These men are anything but mini and to see a man like Sypniewski, standing 6’6”, line-up for a putt with a 3-foot piece of aluminum in his hands, you almost expect the club to crack at first grip.

Of course the players did find a way to not only make the action more physical, but also managed to take an early lead on the Steelers this season. Reluctantly, Wilcox allowed some good friends to participate in the party who just happened to be fans of the black and gold. One of them was paired with Justin Green and they made a friendly bet that required the loser of each hole to do 15 push-ups. Fortunately, for RaveTV and fans of the purple and black, we showed up just in time to see the Steelers fan put one in the drink. He got on his knees, started to pump and was quickly joined by Green and Wilcox who were happy to shout out the push count.

The main event on Saturday, apart from the De La Hoya-Mayweather battle to save boxing, was a closest-to-the-hole competition featuring the Ravens, Donut, and a guest appearance by the Chick-fil-A Cow. The chicken chain provided food for the event and just happened to have a mascot on hand to test his skills on the green. “Play Mor Golf?” More like “Practice Mor!” The Cow nearly missed the ball as his shot immediately sliced to the right.

The real drama began as Reed took aim using a University of Miami approved orange ball. His shot came within a few feet of the hole and provided a mark for the rest of the Ravens to attack. Nathan and Attiyah hit their shots way too far and “Q” and Oglesby came up about 15 feet too short. Bryant stepped up next and his ball barely nudged past Reed’s to give him the clubhouse lead with just Bart and Dan left to play.

Bart, wearing a quasi golf uniform (madras shorts – very trendy), sent a bullet right at the hole and as the fans looking on collectively breathed in, the ball hit the left side of the rim and kept on rolling. Breathe out….

Then came #83. The kids lining the green began cheering, “Wil-cox! Wil-cox!” Of course golfers typically require silence as they begin their backswing, but anyone who has seen Dan waving the white towel on the sidelines knows that he thrives on the crowd noise. Unfortunately, Wilcox just didn’t have his golf game going and he too came up short. On this day, Romby reigned supreme.

The event came to a close as Ed and Dan played one more hole on the Championship course. It was a serious course; one shot even required you to chip the ball off a wall so that it would ricochet over to the second half of the hole. Wilcox lined up for his last shot and a-la Happy Gilmore, preceded to take a full swing, knock the ball high in the air, off our cameraman, and into the rough. Not the ideal first stroke, but the day was not about wins and losses. It was about the nearly one hundred kids in attendance who had the chance to spend an afternoon with their heroes and the hundreds more that Wilcox gets to help through Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. in an attempt to bring them all to a Happy Place.

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