Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sports

Cornhole Tournament to Benefit Dillon May G Fund in Deep River on July 18

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The Dillon May G Fund was set up by Jeff May (left) to honor Dillon May (right) who passed away on Feb 12. The fund supports the causes that Dillon was most passionate about, most notably animal welfare and homelessness support services. Photo courtesy of Jeff May

The Dillon May G Fund was set up by Jeff May (left) to honor Dillon May (right) who passed away on Feb 12. The fund supports the causes that Dillon was most passionate about, most notably animal welfare and homelessness support services. (Photo courtesy of Jeff May )

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Dillon May would often collect clothes from people suffering from homelessness, wash, and return them as a means of helping those who need it. Photo courtesy of Jeff May

Dillon May would often collect clothes from people suffering from homelessness, wash, and return them as a means of helping those who need it. (Photo courtesy of Jeff May )

Dillon May passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Feb. 12. Dillon’s father Jeff May has been coping however he can since, and the best way he has found to do that has been through dedicating himself to causes that his son was passionate about during his life. Jeff May started the Dillon May G Fund as a means to collect charitable donations and distribute them to causes that support animal welfare social justice, and food security for the homeless and underfed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Jeff to host events, and he already had to cancel a prime rib dinner that was to be held in April. However, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 18 the Inaugural Dillon May G Fund Cornhole Tournament will be held at the First Congregational Church Green in Deep River—the same location where the Deep River Horseshoe League meets every week.

May is planning for a maximum of 48 players in the tournament split into 24 teams of two, and teams will compete for bragging rights and a trophy. Registration costs $25 per person and proceeds will benefit Black Lives Matter.

After the cancellation of the Deep River Ancient Muster, which would have been held the same weekend, Jeff believed it was the perfect opportunity to offer another local activity. The tournament will also feature a lunch, drinks, and music.

“I thought it would be a good time for the event because it’s on what would have been Muster Saturday. We can only have 50 people take part due to the phase-2 guidelines. Right now, I have confirmed 12 to 14 people, and I have a few people who say they want to do it but won’t commit until the day,” says Jeff, a Deep River native. “I have a lot of prep work to do in terms of setting up the cornhole boards, lunches, and so on. We’re going to go with paired teams. Individual people can sign up if they don’ t have a partner, and we can match them up.”

Dillon spent a lot of time in Texas through his college years as well as after his graduation, and the sport of cornhole has gained a lot of traction in the Lone Star State, as well as nationwide. Jeff knows that horseshoes have traditionally been a popular sport in both his home of Deep River and Dillon’s adopted home of Texas, but the surge in backyard cornhole battles to televised cornhole tournaments in recent years made this event a more appealing and convenient option. Still, Jeff has received plenty of support from the Deep River Horseshoe League and its president Frank Jolly.

“Anything you keep score in and compete at like cornhole, I think falls under the umbrella of a sport. It’s getting bigger and bigger. I’ve seen in on ESPN. My son was more of a Texas boy, and they love it down there. The bean bags are lighter than horseshoes, and the boards are portable,” said Jeff. “It’s awesome how the word of the tournament is getting around through the horseshoe league, and Frank was kind enough to loan me the Port-a-Potty on the green for the event.”

May’s first foray into raising money for the G Fund was producing a cookbook of his son’s favorite recipes. The proceeds from their sale have gone to support local food security organizations.

“I was just so motivated to do something. In four days, I created the cookbook Dillon’s Dishes. Everything that was in it I would cook for him throughout his life. I’ve been selling those, and I gave money to local soup kitchens,” May said. “It was the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and the Middletown Soup Kitchen, but this is the first real event since the prime rib dinner at the church was canceled due to coronavirus.”

Another passion of Dillon’s was caring for stray animals, and Jeff has been working with Dog Star Rescue in Canton to that end. With both animals and people, Dillon wanted all to have a roof over their head, or to at least help anyone that didn’t.

“I’m just trying to keep my son’s legacy alive. It’s all about him. I want to bring awareness to the causes that he was passionate about. He had a passion for the homeless. He would gather up homeless people’s clothes, wash them, and bring them back,” says Jeff. “He would also take in stray animals all the time, so I’ve started working with Dog Star Rescue. He would come to me saying he found some dog. I would try to talk him out of it, but I never would be able to. He was would always put others before him.”

While there will be trophies on the line at the tournament, May hopes that participants will be motivated by the promise of helping others.

“I’ve never done anything like this before. We’ll be playing each game to 21,” said May, who works at Water’s Edge Skilled Nursing Facility in Middletown. “It should go pretty quick, and it’ll be win two out of three games to move on. We’re going to be giving out lunch, while teams wait their turn to play the next round. It’s going to be competitive, but the point is to raise money for a good cause. I’m probably going to know everyone there for the most part.”

As much as the past five months have been a harrowing ordeal, May has found new purpose through this charitable work.

“It’s been allowing me to keep chugging along. I’m bringing my son’s name to the forefront. It’s hard to lose your only child. To do something in his name to help other people, it’s the best therapy that I’ve had,” May said. “It’s helping me get through this. Without this foundation I don’t know where I’d be right now. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My purpose right now is to get my son’s name out there and make life better for people in Dillon’s name.”


Chris Negrini is the Assistant Sports Editor for Zip06. Email Chris at c.negrini@shorepublishing.com.

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