By Kevin Wilson, Freedom Newspapers
CLOVIS — When the National Football League draft started in 2006, Hank Baskett III waited at home for a phone call that never came.
This time, the veteran Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver was getting plenty of calls and text messages, but none were as important as a good day of golf.
The Clovis native came back home to take over the Tee’d Off About Child Abuse tournament from his father, with proceeds benefitting the Oasis Children’s Advocacy Center.
When Baskett started his career with the Eagles, he designated Oasis as his charity. He said the NFL encourages each player designate a personal charity, but they don’t require it.
“In our situation, you should do it,” Baskett said. “You’ve gotta give back.”
The center’s services include safe house investigative interviews and forensic services, along with a neutral setting for interviews of child abuse victims and children who may have been witness to serious crimes.
The tournament has traditionally done well, but Baskett’s presence helped increase exposure and sponsorship opportunities. That made for more work, but Baskett thought it was worth it.
“ I’m having to do the work on the east coast while my dad and everybody are working here,” Baskett said. “Adding the professional athlete aspect made it rougher. It started out a little rough, but it turned out good.”
With about 36 teams competing, the tournament made nearly $12,000 in registration fees ($320 per four-person team), and there were fund-raising chances at each hole with corporate sponsors and helpers selling drinks and mulligans.
Some expenses never materialized, however, as some of the winning teams gave their prize money back to Oasis. In fact, the winning team traded its money for first dibs at a pile of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader calendars.
Other prizes included power tools, golf gear and memorabilia signed by Eagles players. A ball signed by the 2006 Eagles team was also up for raffle.
The previous event organizer, Hank Baskett Jr., was overjoyed at how everything worked out.
“My back isn’t too good, but … suck it up,” he said to a cheering crowd. “My son tells me that, because he knows those words.”
During the tournament, the youngest Baskett received text message updates from the clubhouse about who the Eagles were picking. He said the tournament falling on draft day was a coincidence.