There was so much inspiration inside the Sheraton Wilmington South hotel Feb. 17 at the 65th annual Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association banquet. It was such a positive atmosphere.
Tony Defazio, the Herm Reitzes Award winner for service, dedicates much of his time to youth sports. So does Lynn Richardson, who earned coach of the year honors in both lacrosse and field hockey at Polytech. The Tubby Raymond Award winner for coach of the year did both while battling breast cancer. Padua Academy senior Erin Wendelburg, co-winner of the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award, made such a huge impression on the crowd with the way she has accepted all of the hardships she has endured. Anyone not inspired by her attitude and perseverance should be checked for a pulse.
Even the John J. Brady Athlete of the Year, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow, fit in with the theme. Lightly recruited out of Concord High School, he attended a junior college for a year before walking on at the University of Delaware. He went undrafted by the National Football League, only to secure a spot with the Falcons, which he turned into a starting job as he became the team’s leading tackler.
Then there’s Mike DeStasio, the other winner of the Hurlock Award. Mike has not let amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – put out his competitive fire. Since his diagnosis in 2008, he has become a champion wheelchair bowler.
One sport he is passionate about is golf. He said during his speech at the banquet that after his diagnosis he was going to play as long as he could stand over the ball. So his friends at Baywood Greens Golf Club in Long Neck are using golf to help raise money to benefit the family -- wife Wendy, daughter Allison and son Mikey -- and to help in the fight against the degenerative illness.
The Iron Mike DeStasio Hope Golf Classic is scheduled for Monday, March 31, at Baywood. The cost is $75 per player and includes 18 holes of golf, dinner, prizes and silent auction. The event runs from noon-5 p.m. For more information, call Baywood Greens at (302) 947-9800 or visit www.baywoodgreens.com/events/golf/iron-mike-golf-classic. Registration and sponsorship forms are available at the website.
Funds raised will benefit the DeStasio family and the MDA/ALS Hope Foundation.
According to the Baywood Greens website, Mike coached youth baseball and basketball, and he played golf, bowling, racquetball and handball. He has not let his disease beat him and “never asks ‘why me,’ he asks ‘why this?’”
“Every day, he shows his family and friends how to be strong, how to be brave, how to have courage and how to have hope,” the website reads.
The snow will be long gone by March 31, so if you can get to Baywood Greens, mark your calendar now. Playing one of Delaware’s nicest golf courses while helping one of its unsung heroes is a great way to spend a day. And to help one of our own unsung heroes.