The 22nd Annual Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic
September 3, 2009
By Bill Boehlke
A hot and sunny afternoon at the Harbour Pointe Golf Club in Mukilteo was only one of the attractions as alumni and friends gathered for the 22nd Annual Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic. The primary beneficiary of the tournament is the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Seahawks family certainly had fun making it happen.
“The first year we raised around $15,000, and last year we were able to give over $100,000 to charity,” said Jacob. “And over the years it’s been close to $2 million dollars we’ve raised, so it’s grown quite a bit.”
Twenty-eight golfing parties were each joined by an alumni or sports celebrity for the 5-person scramble, including the likes of Husky football coaching legend Don James, Sonics legends Gus Williams and Slick Watts, and baseball great Vida Blue.
“It’s an honor, a privilege and a pleasure to participate in this tournament because of the respect I have for Jacob and why he’s trying to do to give back to his community,” said Vida. “And hopefully someday we’ll find a cure for cancer.”
Finding a cure for cancer is the root cause of the annual golfing tournament, and it has a personal significance for Jacob, who lost his father to cancer. And what a great way to support a great cause, plus do a little catching up with former teammates at the same time.
Eugene Robinson certainly agrees. “It’s like a big reunion you get to be a part of, and it brings back so many memories,” said Robinson. “Not only are you part of a good cause, but you reinforce the solidarity among football players, guys who get displaced, and they get a chance to come back here.”
Manu Tuiasosopo has sired himself quite a family, and he looks forward to the family atmosphere of the yearly event. “The bottom line for Jacob is he’s got a cause supporting Fred ‘Hutch, and that’s very important. But for me it’s seeing the fellas’,” says Tuiasosopo.
There was food and drink aplenty spread out along the course, including some fine eats courtesy Porter’s BBQ, Ezell’s Chicken, and Morton’s Steakhouse. And that’s something Sonics legend Slick Watts really appreciates. “Jacob was a football player, a big guy, and he appreciates food,” said Watts. “Nobody feeds you like they do at Jacob Green’s tournament!”
Steve Largent is one of many alumni who reside outside of Washington State, and he knows the trip to Seattle for the tournament will always be very worthwhile. “I come out because I get to see old friends and teammates that I’ve had for a long time, and it’s fun to catch up and compare notes with them,” said Largent. “But the bottom line is we’re able to help a charity at the same time, so it’s a win-win all the way around.”
For some alumni like Sam Adams, it goes beyond the pro team connections to answer the call of duty. “Jacob has always supported Seattle, he’s a fan of Seattle, and he’s an Aggie, so I really didn’t have any choice,” said Adams, a fellow Aggie. “But anything Jacob does for the community, we all want to be a part of it.”
Many of the players admit to getting in some practice time prior to the tournament, because, let’s face it, you don’t want to look bad in front of your former teammates. And as Paul Johns relates, the stories they tell also seem to get more embellished with each passing year.
“You know how it is when old athletes get together,” said Johns. “The stories get longer and the stories get better, but it’s just good to see the guys and see how they’re doing.”
“That’s what makes it special,” said Green. “We get a bunch of guys from the area – the Tuiasosopo family, plus Steve Largent, Gus Williams and Slick Watts, and Vida Blue comes in too. We get a lot of great guys, guys that like being around people and shaking hands and signing autographs, and that’s what makes this tournament so special.”