Ron Defreitas (Left), Ron Guidry (Middle), Gary Cucchi (Right)
The 2015 Lou Piniella Celebrity Golf Tournament for SCORE INTERNATIONAL happened this week at Avila Golf Club in Tampa FL. Florida Educator Insurance owner Gary Cucchi has gone on several mission trips but recently went on Score International Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic. Gary travelled with his 8 year old son, Nicholas Cucchi, and saw firsthand the impact of the program. “Typically, you feel good just about giving on a mission trip but sharing this trip with my son was very rewarding and our bond grew deeper. We specialize in teacher insurance and financial services in Florida and real world experience is so important in education. I try to educate my kids on other cultures and serving the community but trips like this one gave us a real awakening and energy to do more. I would recommend any parent to take a child on the Score International trips”.
The Lou Piniellas Celebrity Golf Classic is a crucial way to raise resources and awareness to keep SCORE INTERNATIONAL running. Gary stated, “The whole event is first class from the door prizes to the celebrities that attend.” Lou Piniella, long time major league coach, is the lead organizer for the event.
Gary “Water Boy” Cucchi (left), with John Gruden (right)
Gary’s golf team consisted of long time Yankees pitcher and icon Ron “Gator” Guidry. “Ron could not have been more generous with his time and story-telling from lunch, the round of golf, and dinner. He let us ask questions about his playing career, personal questions, and a lot of conversation about his longtime friend Yogi Berra.
We also felt like we had bonus celebrities in our group.” Goose Gossage also attended the event and playing in another group. Goose Gossage played with Guidry at the Yankees and the two remain close friends today. “You can tell those two are very close as they kept a friendly banter going throughout the whole event. We felt like we were on the team and it could easily have been the locker room with the no filter conversation and stories. They are great guys.”
John Gruden (Left), Ron Guidry (Right)
The actual round of golf became almost a side note in the event with the exception of the tees. We had a few holes where John Gruden, the ex-Tampa Bay Buck and current ESPN analyst, challenged us on the tee. It is hard enough to concentrate with stories flying, playing a challenging course like Avila, to have the Head coach calling you out on your inability to hit a good shot”, Gary chuckled.
Gary joked that it is a good thing we all have good insurance because our group really made me aware of how much damage we could have done out there. One of the other two players was another Horace Mann Agent that grew up a Yankee fan and his father’s favorite player was Ron Guild. So you know golf was the last thing on his mind. The other player was a long time golf partner whose only consistent golf attribute is that he is consistently bad. Gary had a rare case of the yips so the potential to hit houses, automobiles, people, and golf carts in our group was pretty good. Distractions in golf, just like driving increase the risk of damage person or property.
Fortunately, Avila has very few houses that come into play and it was the water that took the brunt of errant shots. Gary earned a new nickname from John Gruden on the last hole, “Water Boy”. You will have to ask Gary about how he got the nickname but it made him feel even more part of the team with the likes of “Gator”, “Goose”, “Chucky”, and now “Water Boy”.