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Hard-working Jerks keeping former Komet's memory alive

From left, James Redmond, Craig Berry and Ryan Potts are three of the four founding members of the Jerk Golf League at Colonial Oaks Golf Club. News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring
From left, James Redmond, Craig Berry and Ryan Potts are three of the four founding members of the Jerk Golf League at Colonial Oaks Golf Club. News-Sentinel photo by Blake Sebring

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For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Golf league started as foursome and became a charity outing

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 12:01 am
Since he passed away in May 2014, the one thing everyone misses about Komets great Reggie Primeau is his smile. He could change anyone's bad day with a grin, and he loved to laugh, especially if he was the butt of the joke.Though he lost his right leg to diabetes in 2000, Primeau still loved to golf, either with former teammates or family members. One summer evening in 2007, his grandson Ryan Potts, and friends James Redmond and Craig Berry took Primeau to Colonial Oaks Golf Club, and as usual, Primeau hit his drives straight down the middle.

"He'd always hit it and stare at it like he didn't know where it was going," Potts said with a laugh. "We started playing on a whim, and we just kept doing it. We're all like family, and it was always a lot of fun. Nobody here is good enough to take it seriously."

Realizing their first names added up to JRRC, pronounced jerk, they called themselves The Jerk League two years later. That has led to a ton of jokes and odd looks when they call each other jerks away from the golf course or when one of their kids says in the middle of a grocery store, "I can't wait until I grew up so I can be a jerk someday just like my dad!"

Yes, it's a proud moment.

Now there's a standing Tuesday evening group of 12 (which ironically was also Primeau's jersey number), and a rotating group of about 10 substitutes. The logo is a silhouette of Berry holding a large divot which he says epitomizes the spirit of the league.

There's also an annoying Jerk chant before every round, and a weird scoring system which allows even the worst duffer to remain competitive. One brave fool received extra points for playing despite postponing his wife's birthday dinner. Cheating is dealt with harshly, unless the player doesn't get caught, and Primeau never was even when he was playing with former teammates Lionel Repka, Len Thornson and Chuck Adamson and mysteriously shot a great score.

"I'm the worst golfer in this league so that paying for it every week is ridiculous, but these guys are my brothers," Berry said. "It's like throwing money away. In this league you can somehow shoot higher and higher and still see your average go lower and lower. Every single night is a good laugh."

It's all in the algorithms, league commissioner Redmond said. And somehow he can actually make it sound like it makes sense.

This year, Berry, an avid Kentucky fan, had to wear an Indiana jersey and sing the IU fight song in front of everyone before they all teed off. The wager? Whether he or Richie Primeau could lose more weight over three months. Primeau won by losing a whopping three pounds because Berry lost only one.

The first year the group also decided to do some charity work, raising money for the American Diabetes Association with a silent auction. Then it became a golf outing which last year donated $6,000 to Turnstone and has raised almost $30,000 over the last six years. There's also a Red Towel awarded to the person from the commuity who best lives up to Primeau's legacy. Winners have included Kaleigh Schrock, Guy Dupuis and Jim Shovlin.

This year, it was decided to make The Jerk's annual event Turnstone's official outing. It'll be held Aug. 15 for $65 per player at Colonial Oaks.

"We chose Turnstone, not only because they are local and do great things for the community, but also because my younger sister, Emily Redmond, spent a majority of her young life in and out of Turnstone due to her Spina Bifida before passing away in 1991," Redmond said. "Emily was our original inspiration for donating to charity, and it was Reggie's love for family and life that kept us going and allowed us to keep the Jerk League going. It's because of Emily and Reggie that we will never stop doing what we do."

As long as the Jerk League keeps playing, Primeau's spirit of fun lives on.

"The last time he was out here, he hit the first drive in 2012 to start the league off, and he hit it right down the middle," Potts said. "It was the last shot he ever hit."

As Berry said, "We hope he's smiling back and laughing at us every Tuesday night."

Well, he's certainly not in awe of their golf skills.

More Information

Online

For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

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