Sunday, April 27, 2008

GOLD KEY DINNER WARMS THE HEART

The Gold Key Dinner always strikes a melodic chord and reinforces why I spend so much time helping administer the state's premier sports banquet.

Folks like high school basketball aficionados Frank and Sheila Beneski of Suffield, youth basketball volunteer Robert Burns of Hamden, lifetime Waterford sportsman Francis X. Sweeney and Hartford summer basketball league founder Peter Higgins give back to their communities through the goodness that permeates their hearts.

They relish their opportunity to speak their minds before family, friends and more than 300 state sports lovers at the magnificent Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Their contributions weave the fabric that enhance the lives of young athletes. They ask nothing in return, and we at the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance cherish the chance to honor them.

Putnam High hoop coach Tony Falzarano, GHO godfather Ted May and retired Brien McMahon (Norwalk) coach and administrator Ralph King were eloquent as they received the state's highest sports honor, a Gold Key.

Former Hartford Courant scribe Woody Anderson drew laughs as he waxed poetic about a career that led to his earning the Art McGinley Sports Writer of the Year Award. The crowd was fixed on every word uttered by Central Connecticut State University men's soccer coach Shaun Green as he related what it was like to survive a deadly heart attack. Green received the Bob Casey Courage Award.

Superb professional boxer Chad Dawson of New Haven and record-breaking Southern Connecticut State University swimmer Kristen Frost accepted athlete of the year recognition.

All proceeds from the event help the CSWA perpetuate the sports writers' craft by subsidizing college-bound high school students who will hopefully become the next generation of chroniclers.

As the organization's treasurer, I'm pleased to report that the Gold Key Dinner and the Bohdan M. Kolinsky Memorial Golf Tournament continue to be ultrasuccessful fund raisers. The honorees, the CSWA membership and all the good folks who attended help make our state a much better place to live.

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