BY JEFF FALK
There are some things – like golf and football – that just don’t go together. That was very apparent at Royal Oaks Golf Course on Saturday.
What does go with golf are hometown pride, a great cause and impeccable weather.
By all accounts, the inaugural Jared Odrick Invitational Golf Outing at Royal Oaks was a hit. Unless of course one was referring to the contact that occurs between a golf club and a ball.
The Jared Odrick Invitational is a local fund-raiser designed to aid ‘Operation Give-Back’ a charity designed for military personnel, police, firemen and first-responders and their families. With some of his NFL buddies and former Penn State teammates in tow, Odrick, a Lebanon High graduate, a former Penn State player and a defensive lineman for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, played an active role in the event organized by Tony Giovino, his former coach with the Cedars.
At $125 per player, a notably Lebanon-feeling 28 teams took their swings.
“I don’t play regularly,” said Odrick of a sport he just recently took up. “But I did buy my first set of custom clubs. It’s golf weather 24/7 where I’m at (Miami), but I do play this thing called football, and it takes up a lot of my time.
“Golf is a humbling sport,” Odrick added. “You saw the lessons it taught (former Penn Stater and current Cincinnati Bengal) Devon Still today. I guess I got bit by the golf bug. The next time I hit a ball straight, I’ll get bit by the golf bug again.”
“I know my skill set,” said Larry Johnson, Odrick’s position coach at Penn State when quizzed about his golf exploits. “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Supporting Odrick with their presence in addition to Johnson were Still, Ravenous Penn State center A.Q. Shippely, Agent Drew Rosenhaus and former Nittany Lion Mickey Shuler. The volunteer spirit was felt through out.
“To be honest, a lot of people want to leave and get away,” said Odrick, “but I feel a necessity to reach back and do something for the people from Lebanon. That’s what I’m doing here. It’s a progression for me. It’s a town that needs some type of progress, especially for youth.
“I’m definitely committed to Lebanon,” Odrick continued. “But I want people who live in Lebanon to get committed to Lebanon. That’s the trick. Hopefully we can do more things like this and turn the tide.”
“Jared always talked to me about what he could do for the area, when he was at Penn State,” said Giovino. “This is an opportunity to stay involved and give back. Jared really embraced it.”
“Because of our schedule, it’s really tough to do this,” said Johnson. “This is different because it’s a great cause. I got a call from Jared. Once I heard Tony and Bill (Giovino) were involved, I knew I wanted to help Jared out. It’s a class organization.”
“Jared has always played very well for the Dolphins,” said Rosenhaus, who represents over 100 active clients in the NFL. “I’ve gotten great feedback from the Dolphins about Jared. They’re very happy with his progress. Jared is one of the top interior linemen in the NFL, and continues to improve. I think the best is yet to come for him.”
Giovino raised $43,000 fo r the same cause last year at Royal Oaks, but without Odrick’s name attached to it.
“It’s something I wanted to come back and put my hand back in the community, and give back to the community,” said Odrick. “I always wanted to do something. With Tony Giovino reaching out to me with this cause, I was gung-ho from the jump. We’re proud of the tournament. We got lot of support from south Florida and the area.
“I would like to continue this, but I’d like to promote other causes,” Odrick added. “I want to reach out to people who are afflicted in the area, and not stick to one cause. I’m very appreciative of what our police, our firemen, our first responders, our armed forces have done for us. I want to do it the right way, not just piece it together.”
“Jared is a great guy, a great client,” said Rosenhaus. “I’m supporting him with this great cause. ‘Give-Back’ is truly a worthwhile venture. Jared is a first-class individual.”
After being named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in his senior year at Penn State, Odrick was selected by the Dolphins with the 28th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. In July of 2010, Odrick signed a $13 million contract with Miami.