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Sports can bring people together Richard Peña | Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:00 PM

A group of us were sitting around a dining table recently at the Optimist Center. The occasion was the annual Bonita Optimist barbecue that climaxes in Bonitafest.The conversation shifted to a similar dinner back in 1984.

The food, back then, was the same. Art Mays had prepared his patented pit barbecue with the sauce that is known only to him and God. The location was a bit different. The dining area was an old tin-roofed building, below the center with no sides that hay barn.

There was a loud barn playing bug the center of attraction was a small black and white television set the size of a cancelled postage stamp. In front of this set a couple of hundreds of Bonitafest party goers saw Steve Garvey hit the home run that propelled the Padres into the World Series.

The situation this past weekend was truly a remarkable sport’s heyday for local fans. There were more than 58,000 fans at the Chargers game. I would estimate that of that number at least half had ear phone radios listening to the Padres game in Los Angeles.

Making the weekend almost complete was the Chargers win over the Chiefs. The game was one of this cliffhangers that is designed to shorten the life of football coaches.

My sports weekend, however, did not end on Sunday. It was extended through Monday with the fourth annual Jake’s of San Diego Bay Golf Classic at the Eastlake Golf Club. This is a golf tournament that is staged every year to benefit the U.S. Olympic ARCO Training Center at Otay Lakes.

The tournament, and its many prizes, drew well over 100 players. The playing was followed by a banquet at the center hosted by Jake’s. There was a silent auction featuring airline tickets, vacation opportunities and autographed sports pictures and equipment.

As usual my foursome played. We banged out birdie after birdie but we also banged out bogey after bogey. We thus joined about 30 other foursomes in becoming the also-rans.

But it was a lot of fun. And this is accentuated when we realize we were part of one of the most gratifying sports weekend in the area’s history. And here we were not only passively engaged but actually participating.

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