Dean Jarvis is one of my friends. We share a vision of golf and possibly long drive being added to the Paralympics. We see competitive disabled golf as an important part of growing the overall sport because when individuals with injuries, illnesses, or challenges see someone that looks like them competing they are much more likely to try the game themselves. About a week ago we were in Myrtle Beach for the ParaLong Drive Cup; a world championship event for individuals with injuries, illnesses, or challenges. Last fall I wrote a profile of Dean for Long Drive Golf Magazine that I titled: Dean Jarvis; “The Champion of ParaLong Drive”. Dean may not have won a world championship, but every cause needs a champion and I could not think of a better one for ParaLong Drive than Dean Jarvis.
On Monday afternoon while Dean was driving to Thackerville, OK from Knoxville, TN we talked on the phone for a few hours as is often the case when he goes on a long road trip. We discussed some of the plans that he had for the upcoming season and potential strategic partnerships.
On Tuesday night, he was watching the first match in the Round of 16 on Golf Channel between Wes Patterson and Ryan Reisbeck; one of his best friends. As Patterson began the set, Dean was watching his friend as he prepared to hit. A few swings into the set Dean began following Patterson’s shots down range. That was when something totally unexpected happened and Wes Patterson’s shaft SNAPPED on his back and was catapulted into the stands directly at Dean. He told me: “I didn’t even see it coming. I was startled when the club head hit me in the right side of my chest. I immediately looked down and checked for blood and thankfully there was none. Within a few seconds I was laughing about it.”
Dean added that he had arrived early and wanted to sit in the middle bleacher at the top row because from there he would be able to follow the balls better. The ushers wanted first to fill up the bleachers on the left side of the tee because it was the background as the long drivers hit their drives. So Dean sat in the front row. Dean laughed as he told me: “The usher even mentioned that the seats would be perfect for being on TV. Little did she know how prophetic she would be.”
Golf Channel also arranged for Wes Patterson to come over to sign the club head and take some picture. As of this morning the Instagram images on ESPN had over a million likes and over a half million views on Golf Channel. Dean has literally gone viral. You could say Dean would do just about anything to get attention. It is ironic that getting hit by a golf club at a long drive event could lead to the publicity that he needs to help take his cause to the next level. Dean has been working tirelessly the last four years to create a platform for ParaLong Drive, but in an instant millions of eyes were upon him for a totally different reason. One could say that, on this night, he was literally in the right place at the right time.