For the last 14 years the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame Foundation has hosted a golf outing, a fundraiser that goes a long way to supporting the 30 college scholarships the organization awards to area student-athletes.
It might not look the same as past years, but the chairman of the golf outing, Kerry O’Connor, is going ahead with plans for the 2020 event despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be status quo, I don’t know what it’s going to look like, depending on what the state allows,” O’Connor said. “We might have to limit the number of participants. We just don’t know because there’s no answers yet.”
It helps that their golf outing isn’t scheduled until the Monday after Labor Day, Sept. 14, at the Elgin Country Club.
Other high school booster clubs who typically have their outings in June or July don’t have as much time to move further along the state’s plan to allow larger gatherings.
Antioch football coach Brian Glashagel said his program’s outing is scheduled for June 21 in Antioch.
As of now it’s still on.
“Honestly, who knows,” Glashagel said. “We still might be able to do the golfing but a lot of the golf outing fun times is whenever everyone is done golfing and hanging around eating. Things change every day so much. We’re a month away. We’re hopeful.”
It’s not just the golf itself that might change, perhaps with more spaced out tee times or limiting one rider per golf cart.
There’s also uncertainty with the banquets afterward, raffles and auctions.
All of those are critical in raising funds for the various organizations. For the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, it provides scholarships.
In its first year in 1981, the ESHOF handed out one $500 scholarship. Last year they gave out 30 scholarships, $1,700 each, bringing their totals to 536 scholarships awarded for a total of $571,000.
“Our members believe in our mission to help students go on to further education,” O’Connor said. “Our golf outing has contributed substantially as well through participation from players and sponsors and donors who donate gifts for our auctions. The golf outing is an important piece of the puzzle. They have allowed us to up the number of students (receiving scholarships).”
Wheaton Warrenville South isn’t hosting a golf outing this summer, though football coach Ron Muhitch said they have had them in recent years to fund a new scoreboard. Muhitch is wondering about not just golf outings but all high school fundraisers.
“You will find some people if they can’t do (a golf outing) they are going to find themselves maybe in a crunch in finances for what that money was always allocated for,” Muhitch said. “Selling discount food cards, door to door sales, all those kinds of things, that will put a crunch to support that has always been within the community to help subsidize athletic teams. That’s going to change everybody’s financial abilities and resources I think.”
Glashagel agreed. He’s not expecting Antioch’s outing to raise as much money as past years.
But with what everyone has been through the past three months, there’s more benefits to the outing than financial.
“High school programs at this point would serve a purpose of getting outside and doing some activity with friends,” Glashagel said. “I don’t know if it’s as much banking on it making a lot of money. You know what? Who cares. Get out, walk around, golf, have a few laughs and not gather afterward. That’s fine.
“Carwashes, golf outings, a lot of the summer is those kinds of fundraisers that I don’t know if will be around. You have to kind of get creative with it and come up with some new ideas.”