Participants migrate back to area for ‘Loving it now!’ FHS track golf tournament

Published 8:31 am Monday, July 6, 2015

By Mona Sumblin
Assistant Track Coach
Special to The Tidewater News

“Don’t nobody want to play ‘no’ golf.” These were the words of the students in Mr. Charles A. Pearce’s PE class in the 1970s when he was trying to introduce them to the sport.

Today, most of those same students now thoroughly enjoy the game, so much so that Dennis Sumblin decided to organize a golf tournament. He stated, “It has been my desire to bring together a group of guys from our community who did not grow up playing golf, but who now enjoy the game immensely. Mr. Pearce told us that we wouldn’t be able to chase that basketball or football all of our lives and that we needed to learn a less strenuous lifetime sport. I guess he was right!”

The secondary purpose of the tournament was to raise funds for the high school track program, of which Sumblin is the head coach. The tournament was on June 19 at the Suffolk Golf Course. Participants came from Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, Manassas, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Surry, as well as Franklin.

Alumni and friends included Robin Ricks, Robert Britt, Justin Oliver, Lawrence Whiting, Willie Bell, Robert “Duck” Riddick, Craig Elam, Frederick “Toe-Jo” Cross, Clarence “Bone” Ruffin, Mario Newby, D.H. Mangrum, Carl Jewett, James Peebles, Tommy Council, Tony Lee, Marcus St. Claire, George “Big Game” Hunter, Jeremy Titus and Gerald “BeBe” Britt.

The Ohio team of Robin Ricks, Marcus St. Claire, George “Big Game” Hunter and Jeremy Titus won the tournament. Willie Bell, Justin Oliver and Lawrence Whiting were the runner-ups.

George “Big Game” Hunter also won trophies for the Closest to the Pin and the Longest Drive.

“The tournament was a great success and the guys are already looking forward to next year’s event,” said Sumblin. “Several of the guys were just beginning to play the game and weren’t very skilled, but they came because they wanted to give back.

“One player even suggested that the name of the tournament be changed to the ‘Charles A. Pearce Memorial’ Golf Tournament. Mr. Pearce would be very proud.”