July 10th, 2014  / Author: dipasqua



By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Thursday night, July 10, 2014

PENINSULA – When you do something so well for so long it, perhaps because of mojo, keeps getting better. Much like David Best’s sense of humor, it kind of grows on you. That is what makes the Wednesday after July 4th something to look forward to each year. Best’s humor aside.

In what was probably the most entertaining and evenly-contested Bees Basketball Par 3 Golf Outing yet another good time was had by all here last night at Brandywine’s idyllic short track nestled amidst the blue firs and lush emerald backdrop of the Cuyahoga Valley.

And, for the first time in the nine-year history of this annual get-together of many of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ basketball programs closest friends, the match ended in a tie. That should come as no surprise. After all there was a full moon last night. And some were howling at it. Others just howled at the non-stop gag-fest of one-liners that more than camouflaged the occasional errant shot.

A light drizzle began to fall shortly before the scheduled 6:00 pm shotgun start. And the temperature dropped a little. That sent most participants into the A-frame Alpine chalet for cover. But the close confines only intensified the verbal zingers. Talk about trash-talking.

Getting The Party Started

“This is my first time doing nothing and it’s nice,” said Dave “Stu” Stuczynski, the outings longtime organizer.

Hustling around the mini “clubhouse” with the same vigor he stalks the sideline on Friday nights Bees veteran head coach Steve Mehalik was putting the final touches on the list of ten sets of four players who would ply the hills and dales of this scenic Summit County lot.

“It’s another great turnout. It is nice to see everyone again and it is fantastic that so many guys show up year after year in support of Bees basketball,” Mehalik said.

This event has indeed grown in popularity and kinship that it really does feel like a family reunion. If one family member can’t make it (Mike Tartara where are you?) than another coaching genius, albeit in a different sport, takes his place. That semi-celebrity in the name of Cleveland Heights head football coach Jeff Rotsky.

Yes, there were the mainstays; the St. Ignatius guys and the Midpark people. And John Curran, an assistant hoop coach at Magnificat, chased a few birdies. That was part of the dyed-in-the-wool west side contingent.

But this years event took on a decidedly east side flair. Who says that Brecksville basketball can’t attract fans from both sides of the crooked river?

Diamonds In The Rough

Aside from Coach Rotsky the talent from the east side was mainly of the fairer persuasion. This yearly happening brought out a record number of hostesses. There were the veterans in Katey Doyle, Ana Nikolic and Holly Oster, of London Pickle Works fame. But there were many friendly new faces that helped make the evening a success as well.

Joining the fray were a tireless trio of school teachers; Alyssa Zappola (Lake Catholic), Katie Wheatcroft (Willoughby South) and Laura Von (Mentor). Von, got into the Bees spirit sporting freshly painted red finger nails with gold polka dots. “I did my nails just for the occasion,” Von said.

“We’re going to be the best hostesses ever because we are Italian!” the feisty Zappola added with a smile as everyone headed back outdoors.

Cavaliers Dance Team member CaryAnne Nowak (Nordonia) and former Parma High cheerleader Brooke Brumfield made sure that all duffers were kept laughing with their hilarious anecdotes and colorful quips.

Even medical school students Kim Kobzowicz (Chagrin Falls) and Jen Springmeir, who came all the way from Dayton, rode the grounds making sure that all were adequately hydrated.


The rain came to a halt, the clouds began to dissipate and Stuczynski’s right hand man Ken Cunningham commandeered a horn to commence play.  Cunningham, officially titled ‘the first assistant to Stu’, wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he stepped into his new role with the outing. “Stu is a very demanding boss. So we are going to do our best to fulfill his expectations for another successful Bees Golf Outing,” Cunningham said as hackers began launching balls in just about every direction.

A pretty cool sight was the foursome of Ken Cunningham and his son Kenny (KC). And the father son duo of David and Adam Best. KC and Adam were part of Brecksville’s first-ever Southwestern Conference championship team and graduated in 2011.

Kenny Cunningham will be a senior at Ohio State, where he has been a four-year member of the Buckeyes soccer team. And Adam Best will be a senior at Ohio Northern where he is a four-year member of the Polar Bears football team.

A search party was sent out to look for Tartara “He’s probably home polishing the John Dauria Trophy,” quipped Dan Davison.

Mark Rules This Court Too

Up in the higher elevation, at the fifth tee, former Bees standout Mark Chrzanowski, now in his second year in this role, was matching his tee shot against all players. “Oh, Stu, there’s so much pressure,” Rotsky said as he lifted a tee shot that looked like a field goal sailing wide left.

Chrzanowski, the SWC’s most valuable player his senior year, is now on the golf team at John Carroll. The Silent Assassin was having a field day against anyone who took him on.

Hostesses Alyssa and Katie made sure that everyone’s chops were sufficiently busted and that caused a log jam on the fifth tee box. “These are the slowest guys in the world. They think it’s the PGA Tour,” Kevin Weigand said.

As Miss Zappola (the pride of Wickliffe) kept raking in cash on account of Chrzanowski’s effortless tee shots, play ground to a complete halt. “It’s like an event up here when Mark is teeing off,” Mehalik said from the comfort of a cart. “But all I know is that I was a heck of a lot better basketball coach when the Silent Assassin was wearing a Bees uniform.”

As a 12-car passenger train (not the CVSR) whistled its way northbound through the valley Mr. Hotaling and his group were all business on the eighth green and the mosquitoes were out in full force.

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

Back down at base camp Coach Stu kept a small fire going in the pit and finally at 7:15 the sun popped out, making for a splendid summer evening.

It turns out that Stuczynski was football teammates with Rotsky and BBHMS football coach Kurt Walcutt. In fact Walcutt and Rotsky were roommates for three years during those halcyon days at CWRU in the mid to late 1980′s.

“Rotsky was a receiver and I was a DB,” Walcutt remembered. “Every day in practice he said he was going to beat me, but he never did. I shut him down.”

It turns out Stuczynski was the star of that group. Stu’s likeness stands today in its rightful place in the Spartans athletic hall of fame.

Speaking of search parties. Bill Tyler, who was part of Rotsky’s contingent, was befuddled by the absence of his original playing partner, Mike O’Donnell. “He tried to blame me that I didn’t tell him. But he only got four emails about tonight,” Tyler said in full disclosure.

This humble scribe was cajoled by Stu into several putt attempts on the practice green. Unfortunately it was at the same time the verbose quartet of Dave Coronel, Dan Brinkman, Dan Ryan and the aforementioned Weigand were teeing off on hole one.

Staring down at a putt with those four hackers offering all sorts of advice was like trying to sink a free throw in a tie game with two seconds left. Just a bit off the mark.

Looking For A Winner

When the golfers began to trickle in the scores were tallied on a white marker board. It was a dead heat between the team of Lou Joseph and Fred DeSanto and the father-son tandem of Matt and Paul Zajac. Each group carding a 26, which tied the outings all-time low score.

As the sun began to drop below the tree-line shadows formed across the course. “Bring down your car and turn on the lights,” BBHHS assistant coach Greg Sejba said.

But banter led to tall tales and shooting the breeze took on an art form and the one-hole, winner-take-all playoff never occurred.

That left Matt Zajac (2001) to wax poetic. “If I can etch my name on the John Dauria Trophy and grab the Bees Golf Outing trophy in the same year it would be a dream come true,” Zajac said. “Whether it’s Mike Tartara, Bill Kern or Paul Zajac, it’s all about teamwork. And I owe it all to them.”

As quick as the idea of a playoff fizzled another Bees Golf Outing tradition was going full tilt on the practice green. Who could ever forget Dave Coronel’s historic no-look, walk-off putt to win the 2013 event? Would Coronel, like Nicklaus at Augusta in ’86, be able to duplicate that fantastic finish?

He almost did. In a replay of last summer Coronel eyed the cup and let it roll. This one was on the money. Coronel turned, dropped his putter, raised his arms in triumph and strutted off the course. It lipped out.

Emerging from the chorus of groans was David Best. The smile on his face was one of the cat that just ate the canary variety. Did you win it? The pencil-toter wanted to know. “Why would you even ask that question?” Best replied.

Winding Down

Dinner was served in the pavilion. Toot was behind the grille as usual and did a masterful job with the burgers and dogs. Steve Fulton brought his famous pasta. And there was plenty of fresh fruit and cookies to keep every taste satisfied.

Ken Cunningham, the Bees new freshmen coach, served at the master of ceremonies. The tourney’s co-winners were announced. The sidebars contest winners were gracious with their earnings.

Mehalik spoke. “We’ve been doing this for nine years and we are here because of Stu. And all that he does to organize this event and for everything he does for our program. We love you Stu and we appreciate it,” Mehalik told the gathering in the gathering dusk. “And thanks to all you guys who take part of this event every year. This is one of the nicest things we  do. And to the ladies for helping out. We couldn’t do it without you. You are all great people.”

There is not a classier basketball program in northeast Ohio than the Bees. Everything about it is top-notch. The annual golf outing puts the cherry on top of the sundae every summer.

Hostess Alyssa Zappola, attending her first-ever Bees golf outing, summed it up best as the crowd began to thin. “I thought it was really fun. Very enjoyable. Everyone was very nice,” she said.

The daytime high yesterday was in the mid-eighties and a well-deserved summer is in full bloom. But keep an eye on the calender. Because soon it will be basketball time at the Bee Hive. And that is where it is really fun.


See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow the Lady Bees on-line at: beesbasketball.com.

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