Hitting the Links for the Lions
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, may have marked the end of Calgary’s 37-day streak of sun and heat, but the day’s cold and rain didn’t dampen spirits or success at Ambrose University’s annual Golf Tournament.
More than 120 people — 100 golfers, plus sponsors and event volunteers — took to The Links at GlenEagles, raising $50,000 to support Lions Athletics and doubling the amount raised the previous year.
Dollars raised are only one measure of success, however, and Ambrose was equally pleased to have the opportunity to connect with many people eager to learn about, be part of and support student athletes and the university.
“People at the tournament who have been involved in the past genuinely felt a strong sense of fellowship and networking,” says Joan Wolf, Major Gifts Officer at Ambrose, noting that this year was rather unique because an estimated 40 per cent of golfers had never taken part before.
“People who were new to the tournament received a warm welcome, and got to hear from a student athlete about why their support mattered.”
Funds raised are crucial for Lions Athletics because they help with the costs associated with Ambrose’s membership in the highly competitive Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC). Students athletes benefit from scholarships, athletic therapy, travel and equipment, and financial support for coaches, chaplains and support staff help Lions Athletics fulfill its mission of “pursuing excellence, building family, becoming disciples” to develop athletes who make a difference in their communities.
In many ways, the golf tournament is “team building” — both literal and figurative — at its best. “An event like this is an important way to engage people and to build the Ambrose community,” Wolf says.
Every person, every player, matters at Ambrose
Paige Goertzen, a member of the Lions Women’s Volleyball squad shared her personal story with tournament participants during lunch, saying how much it meant to her to attend Ambrose and to play on the team, and expressed her deep appreciation for community support.
“Ambrose is still a newer team in the ACAC, but as we continue to grow as a program and in strength, we are beginning to do great things,” she said. “As Ambrose athletes, we look to build family and become disciples of the world through the sports we love.
“This is why I chose Ambrose. I allows me to grow in my faith, pursue a sense of family as I live away from home and receive my degree in a place where I matter.
“I want to thank each one of you for your generous donations and contributions to Lions Athletics. Because of this, each day I get to wake up and play the sport I love in an environment that challenges my faith, provides me with a family and continually seeks excellence.”
Goertzen’s comments were echoed by dinner speaker Rodd Sawatzky, Chaplain for the Calgary Stampeders, who has a keen understanding of the connection between faith and athletics. His message about the impact student athletes will have on their communities long after graduation was both powerful and inspiring.
Sponsors make all the difference
The Golf Tournament’s success and the fun participants have is thanks to a multitude of sponsors who support the event as a whole, as well as its many components.
Every hole, for example, offered a little “something” for the golfers, whether it was a prize for the longest drive, the “Gully Prize” for shanking the ball into the gully, driving the ball into a porta potty, munching on a jelly doughnut from the food truck, or solving puzzles and finding clues to make their way out of the mobile escape room.
“In many respects, the combination of a cold and ugly day and all these great prizes really encouraged people to come together to create a ‘warm’ atmosphere,” Joan Wolf says. “Everyone was a really good sport, even though we played only nine holes instead of the full 18.”
In fact, the host course was so impressed by the group’s determination to have fun, despite the decidedly un-golf weather, that all participants were given passes for discounts on a future round of golf.
And now that 2017 is a wrap, plans are underway for next year — with fingers crossed that Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, will be bright and sunny.