At the invitation of Babe Atkins-Byrne, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cobb Leadership Council, I was a rookie caddy this past Monday at the 15th annual Pink Ribbon Golf Classic at the Marietta City Club. Money raised from the event goes into the fight against breast cancer. It is an all-women’s event and more than 140 of them came out to participate on a gorgeous, sun-filled autumn day. The place was a sea of pink.
To make the game fair for all players, handicaps are assigned to golfers according to their skill level. In the case of the Pink Ribbon Golf Classic, the women were assigned an additional handicap — male caddies. About 60 of us took on the task of accompanying the women around the golf course and offering them such sage advice as, “Try not to hit it in the water.”
Although my knees were crying “no mas” about halfway around the hilly course, it was well worth the effort. Before we teed it up, the ACS took time out to honor 15 breast cancer survivors — including one man — and to pay tribute to those who had lost the fight against this insidious disease during the past year. The ceremony was a reminder of the very serious business behind the fun and games.
The Pink Ribbon Classic is the brainchild of late Marietta Mayor Ansley Meadors and former State Rep. Judy Manning, herself a breast cancer survivor. To know Judy Manning is to know an irresistible force. I asked her how the idea of a women-only golf tournament came to be.
“We started it on a dare,” she said, “Ansley and I were told by a prominent citizen in town that we couldn’t do it. That’s all the encouragement we needed.”
I don’t think I would have told her that but I am glad Mr. Prominent Citizen did. It has spawned a great event for a worthy cause.
The Pink Ribbon Classic serves as one more example of why Cobb County is such a special place in which to live and work. There seems to be no end to the opportunities to give back to our community and we have a lot of people willing to offer their time and talent to do it.
This might be as good a time as any to suggest to the usual suspects that they not lecture me today in some warm-spit blog about all the problems we have in Cobb County. My knees still ache from Monday and that tends to impact my already-low reservoir of patience with whiners. Of course, there are problems in Cobb County. There are problems everywhere. If you see something that needs fixing here, get involved and fix it. How hard is that?
I saw the best in our community Monday and I was honored to be a part of it. I had the good fortune to caddy for three women who have played together in the Pink Ribbon Classic for the past 10 years. Rhonda Eubanks is a court reporter for Cobb Superior Court Judge S. Lark Ingram. Laura Murphree is the capital litigation director for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and Evealine Smith, a state probation officer. I am glad I got to know them on the golf course and not on their day jobs.
The format for the tournament was best-ball, which means everybody hits a shot and then plays off the best of those shots up to and into the hole. If one of our group happened to hit a wayward shot Monday, invariably one of the others would hit a good one. The result was a string of pars and even a couple of birdies for our team. My indispensable role in their success was to stay out of the way and not fall in the water.
The planning for next year’s 16th annual Pink Ribbon Classic will get underway very soon while the good fight against breast cancer continues on daily. If the organizers will have me, I will be back, too, dispensing sage advice and trying to stay out of the way and not fall in the water. Being a topflight caddy is not as easy as I make it look.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.