July 17, 2007

It isn’t until The Great White Shank steps into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport that – at least officially for me – Goodboys Invitational week begins. Which is today, as I’ll be jetting my way east to hook up with the lads for this upcoming weekend’s golf extravaganza.

What, might you ask, is involved with putting together a Goodboys weekend? Well, the complexity is definitely defined by the number of participants. This year – as in most – we have eight players divided into four teams. There have been several years in the past where we’ve had 12, and let me tell you, the work is exponentially more difficult – somewhat akin to coordinating a field trip for four-year olds or herding cats (or rabbits!), but most of the time, it’s an enjoyable thing to put together and the guys appreciate it. Let me take you through the entire planning cycle:

The planning usually begins right around the recently-instituted Goodboys Las Vegas Getaway Weekend (the weekend after the Super Bowl), where much of the conversation over dinner and cocktails involves brainstorming different ideas and approaches to that year’s event. In past years, the winning team would be responsible for coordinating the following year’s event, but now that responsibility is safely secured in the hands of the original ‘Founding Fathers’ – yours truly, Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis, Steve “Killer” Kowalski, and Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin. By this time, everyone pretty much knows who is planning to be in or out for that year’s event, so the brainstorming ususally focuses in on participants and locales – typically on Cape Cod, where you still feel as if you’re getting away, and the weather is more reliable than it is, say, in the New Hampshire or Vermont mountains. We’ve learned our lesson there!

Come March, it’s time to make the actual reservations. There’s a final check with all the participants presumed to be a part of that year’s festivities and with the Founding Fathers as to where we are staying and playing golf, and then it’s just a phone call and a deposit check. Volunteers are requested to do the scoreboard (usually handled by Ron “Cubby” Myerow), run the ‘pigeon sheet’ for betting, and that kind of stuff. We’ve been doing this so long (this is our 17th year) that volunteers for various duties aren’t hard to come by.

Come May, the e-mail goes out requesting everyone’s deposit – usually $100, but a few players just send you a check for the entire amount.

Come June, the boys try to get together at some locale between the Lowell/Dracut area (northwest of Boston) and the Cape, so that everyone can see who’s game has improved or deteriorated since the previous year. It’s a great time to catch up on what’s new and happening in The ‘Nation. By this time, the teams have usually been chosen, but in some years this has been decided by competition or a blind draw at the very last minute.

And then, before you know it, it’s July, and that’s when the ‘pigeon sheet’ action slowly starts taking off. Inboxes are filled with dozens of e-mails detailing bets, daring others into bets, and basically just setting the stage for the weekend.

We’ve been doing this for so long, once the basics are taken care of, the weekend virtually runs itself. It’s just hard to believe that it’s almost here.

Now if only my golf game would rise to the same level of efficiency this weekend typically operates under, but that’s gonna require a trip or two to the range.

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