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Trying to figure out next move

Each day folks are hoping for more clarity about what the future in the sports world will hold.

When I was at Parkersburg Country Club on Monday to cover the Callaway Junior Tour playoff series event, I had several interesting conversations.

One of those was with St. Marys High School head boys basketball coach Mark Barnhart, who like myself wonders if it’s just a matter of when, not if, the hammer will drop to end sports until who knows when in 2021.

The coach was more than pleased just to have the opportunity to conduct the three-week summer period with his student-athletes.

There also was a woman from out of the area who was talking to tournament director Chris Slack of the West Virginia Golf Association.

She was thanking Slack and the CJRT for providing an outlet for youth golfers to have something to do this summer and occupy their time.

The gist of her comment which stuck with me is she was just glad her son had that avenue available because he was having a tough time mentally dealing with what appears to be a never ending COVID-19 pandemic.

Yes, sports are far from the most important thing in life, but at the same time it’s something which has been woven into society and in many aspects is part of the backbone of America.

Golfers in and around the Mid-Ohio Valley are definitely blessed in regards to having multiple outlets to play the sport they love.

That’s even more important during the current time everyone is in with uncertainty seemingly around every corner.

Eric Keffer, who is the tournament director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Tour, said it’s been a great summer for the organization.

Only in year two, Keffer expects bigger and better things for next summer and the MOVJGT, which has one tournament left this coming Tuesday at Marietta Country Club.

“You have to pre-register ahead of time,” noted Keffer, who welcomed any youth from ages 7 to 18 to do so by going to www.movjuniorgolf.com. “The kids are getting what they need out of it. That’s the important part.”

Keffer said his daughter is a junior golfer and noted it’s not always easy to just play the Callaway events across the Mountain State.

“We’re operating as an LLC, but we want to go to non-profit,” Keffer added. “There’s a lot of entities that want to have hole sponsor opportunities once we get set up as a non-profit, which we’ll do next year.

“The numbers we are looking at, there’s a need for this and we are going to continue it and grow it and get people more involved and offer a lot of scholarships.”

Keffer stated the MOVJGT is a “little more hang loose. We allow caddies for the 7-10 age group. It seems to me it’s a better environment for those who want to be out with their kids as a caddie for them.

“We always provide food for the kids. We’re going to change things next year and have a little bit of a banquet. Whatever money we got coming in we’re reinvesting in the kids.”

On average, Keffer said they’ve had 44 golfers at the tournaments, but that more than five dozen showed up at the Lakeside event.

In trying to get things going the year before last to in essence replace the former Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association, the average number of golfers was 24 per event.

“We try to have a little more fun and not be so stressed and so tense. I think they enjoy that,” Keffer added.

Hopefully, Keffer and everyone involved with the MOVJGT can continue to help grow the sport for area youth.

It appears they are definitely going in the right direction with things.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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