The Jamestown Gazette

Good Sports Doing Good

The George Bataitis Open (famously the GBO) will be contested for the 25th year this May at Chautauqua Golf Club Lake Course. Anniversaries like a 25th seem to have a particular need to be celebrated and feted as milestones, (blame the decimal base of ten if you like) but the truth is this event has been a gathering of friends and supporters kicking off the golf-scramble season every year since it was resurrected as a JCC Jayhawk fundraiser in 1989.

George Bataitis is the namesake of the event for good reason, as has been described in this column in the past. He is, for all intents and purposes (love to use that cliché!) the father of Jayhawk athletics, having grinded out 32 years teaching and coaching at JCC, He coached, at various times, the golf, basketball, baseball, and bowling teams. You’d be hard pressed to uncover a local JCC athlete over the age of 40 who didn’t play something for George, or a graduate who didn’t take a class from him. George came to JCC in 1956 and initiated a physical education curriculum and department. He chaired the department, was director of athletics, and an acting dean of students. Do Jayhawk athletics exist without George Bataitis? Probably, but they don’t have the history or texture or legitimacy that we now celebrate at the college. Back in the day it was impossible to even consider JCC sports and Physical Education without regard for George Bataitis, and that concept play out today and will into the future.

The 25th annual GBO is held annually on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club, and is a 4-player scramble format. George will more than likely not make it to the tournament this year; he is feeling all those years. His physical presence will be missed, but his spirit will invade the clubhouse and the golf course. The tournament is Saturday, May, the 10th, registration at 7:30 a.m. and shotgun at 8:30 a.m. Come join the fun if you like. I’ll be there, rain or shine.


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.