Right To Play Gala

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Events:

Cook Islands Quest 100 (Quest #4)

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  • Location: Rarotonga, Cook Islands, Pacific Ocean

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  • Friday Oct. 5th to Sunday Oct. 7th 2012

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On Sunday July 22nd Sue and I drove down from Sudbury to Toronto. We had spent a week staying at Fairbanks Lake Resort with our daughter Kristina, her husband Paul and the grand kids Autumn age 8 and Nathan age 3. The Resort is an hour from Sudbury and consists of four rustic cottages and a lodge. The weather was great and over the seven days we had loads of fun swimming, building sand castles, going out on the paddle boat and doing art projects.

The highlight of the week was the nightly fishing session. Autumn is an accomplished fisher girl and she showed us all how to cast. The bait of choose was hotdogs but the "catch" turned out to be Crayfish. Each evening we'd fish 'til the sunset and the mosquitoes came out.

Going to Toronto was certainly a change of pace. Sue and I had been invited to attend the Right To Play fund raising Gala at the Westin Harbour Castle. So along with my sand bucket and spade I had had to pack a suit and tie. The guests of honour for the evening were four well known sports personalities; Ernie Els, Mike Weir, Silken Laumann and Steve Yzerman.

Entering the huge ballroom, the first thing we noticed was two tables full of wine bottles. Both Ernie and Mike have their own wineries. Sue had a glass of the 2010 Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc and I tried the 2010 Ernie Els Big Easy Red. If I ever become a big shot I think I'll open a brewery instead and serve premium beers like Parnell Porter, Parnell Pilsner and Parnell Pale Ale.

A key part of the evening was to recognise the four individuals, not for their sporting accomplishment, but for their work in helping children. In the spring of 2005 Canadian golf icon Mike Weir launched Mike Weir Estate Winery to showcase the world class wines being made in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula and to support the Mike Weir Foundation. The Mike Weir Foundation was formed in 2004 by Mike and Bricia Weir to assist children in physical, emotional and financial need and since the wineries inception; proceeds from the sale of Weir Wines have gone to the Mike Weir Foundation.

In 2008 Ernie Els started to display an "Autism Speaks" logo on his golf bag after it was announced that their five year old son, Ben, was autistic. In 2009, Els launched an annual charity golf event, the Els for Autism Pro-Am, The first event, which featured many PGA Tour and Champion Tour golfers, raised $725,000 for The Renaissance Learning Center, a nonprofit Charter School in the area, for autistic children. Ernie and his wife Liezl have also established the Els Center of Excellence, which began as a drive to build a new campus for the aforementioned school but has since mushroomed into a $30 million plan to combine the school with a research facility.

Silken and Steve had similar stories and each received the "Red Ball Award" from Johann Koss, President and CEO of Right To Play International. I now look at these individuals in a different light and it makes me think of the Right To Play motto "Look after yourself, look after one another."

Quote of the Day

"A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Ernie Els received the "Red Ball Award" from Johann Koss for his work with children with autism.

RTP Gala

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