VESTAL, NY – Everyone has a favorite tradition around the holidays.

For me, it’s only watching A Christmas Story for twenty-four hours starting on Christmas Eve, even while opening presents Christmas morning.

For others, it could be family gatherings, eating a certain meal, or something completely unique and their own.

Then we have an annual tradition for one of the area’s most beloved professional athlete, and honestly, it’s become one of my favorite’s as well.

PGA Tour Champions member, and Horseheads native, Joey Sindelar, in conjunction with Dick’s Sporting Goods, held the 12th annual Shopping with Joey night at the Vestal Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Returning to the actual store for the first time since 2019, Sindelar and members of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open staff surprised twenty children from the Binghamton Boys and Girls Club with two-hundred dollar gift cards and a chance to go on a shopping spree with Joey.

Last year, this tradition was carried on during the pandemic in a different way as Sindelar was able to go to the Boys and Girls Club and help deliver the bags of items on the kids wish lists.

While Sindelar was happy to see the facility, he knows that the kids enjoy being in the store even more.

“We got to see them where they’re comfortable. They missed out on this. It’ll, of course, be great to get them back. But, to see what’s happened over there and what’s available to them was a big thrill for me. Happy we got to do it. The team, the staff here at the tournament did an awesome job putting packages together for them, and we talked a little bit. It was a blast. But, this is what they’re after,” he says.

He’s right. There’s nothing like being a kid and getting to pick out whatever you want.

As usual, the hot ticket item among the kids this year were shoes.

Kid by kid pulled Nike, Under Armour, and ADIDAS sneakers, along with winter boots and even Crocs, off the shelves and into their bags.

Others opted to go with different clothing items, including winter coats, hats, ski masks, and sweatsuits.

Dick’s Open Tournament Director John Karedes plays a major role in making this night happen, and he says this is one of those events that he never gets tired being a part of.

“Each and every year it brings that renewed sense of enthusiasm and excitement for these kids. On behalf of Broome County Charities, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PGA Tour Champions, we’re just excited to be able to do it. Whenever you can help out anyone in our community, it’s something special. But, to be able to help out kids brings it to a whole different level,” he said.

While Joey enjoyed his night with the kids at Dick’s Sporting Goods, I did have to ask if he was prepared to return to the area come next August for the 2022 DIck’s Sporting Goods Open.

Sindelar jokingly said he’s not ready right now, calling himself a “world-class home body”, though he did say he’s excited to get back when the time comes.