WORTHINGTON -- The air was moist Monday morning at the GreatLIFE Worthington golf course. Dew clung to the cut grass. The day before, it rained all day, and there was no guarantee the weather would cooperate when Pete Crozier planned to play.
But Pete Crozier plays through, anyway. He played in the rain on Sunday in Larchwood, Iowa, and he was prepared to tackle the conditions in Worthington be what may.
“This journey should be hard,” he said. “Because diabetes is hard.”
Crozier, of Columbus, Ohio, was in his 29th state Monday for his “Fifty for Father” odyssey, a quest to play 50 golf courses in 50 states in 50 days. His father, George, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1998, at the age of 66, due to complications from Type 2 diabetes. Pete’s son, Gavin, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 4, 11 years ago.
The Fifty for Father tour began May 27 in Southport, N.C., and will finish in Worchester, Mass., where Pete’s dad learned the game. It is a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and donations can be sent through Pete’s website at fiftyforfather.com, where interested persons can also see the courses Crozier is playing, photographs and a blog.
Although Crozier is not a doctor, he seeks to educate people about the daily struggles associated with diabetes, and to raise funds to fight it.
“Doing nothing wasn’t working out so well. So this is my way to do something,” he said Monday morning.
He became a serious golfer at the age of 12 or 13, he recalls, encouraged by his father.
“I was the last kid at home. I think he finally realized it wasn’t about a big, beautiful house or vacations. It was about spending time with people. I think he found out the greatest thing he could give me is time. So he played for me. Now I play for him,” Crozier explained.
On the website, Crozier writes that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, and it strikes both children and adults. There is no cure.
In Gavin’s case, his body was fighting off another virus when he contracted the disease, and it attacked his cells. Type 2 diabetes requires constant vigilance, but Type 1 is even more serious. “Every single thing you eat, you gotta be conscious of it,” Crozier says.
Pete said when he golfed Pebble Beach as part of his 50 for 50 campaign and witnessed the beautiful scenery, he thought about his father and how proud he would have been to see his son taking part in this kind of adventure. He also thinks of Gavin and the difficulties he faces every day. He misses him, his three other children, and his wife, Sarah.
“She’s the real hero behind this,” he said.
Crozier, who was joined Monday by Dave, a friend from his high school days, said he enjoys the Worthington course, and he’s glad he chose it.
“This is one that looked really nice,” he said. “I was telling Dave, this is the kind of course I would retire to. It looks like a nice community. Nice greens, nice trees.”
After fifty days, Crozier will return to his position in Columbus as vice president for Capstone Programs for Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization. Until then, he swings golf clubs for the cause.
“It’s certainly connected me to my dad,” he said. “I feel pretty good physically. Emotionally it’s been hard. I never traveled for work. I’ve never been away from my kids. And now I’m being away for 50 days. But I’m with people I love, doing this for people I love, and doing something to make the world a better place.”