Sarasota, FL – Eighteen tennis pros donated their time and talents during a beautiful Saturday evening at the Laurel Oak Country Club last November, and held round-robin group clinics for all ages (juniors and seniors) with varying tennis skills. The pros shared a great lesson of slowing the timing down on both the serve toss and overhead shots. They each have an innate ability to create natural racquet swings that convert into powerful winning shots against their opponents on the court. Their comradery, encouragement and patience in coaching others are matched by their drive to help young children battle one of the most fearsome of opponents – cancer. These pros, affiliated with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), certainly qualify as some of our Be the Ahh! Champions.
The spark behind this 18th annual event is Tennis Pro Brenda Mertz and her team of dedicated volunteers. Food and beverages (yes, also Watt-Ahh®), as well as items for the silent auction, were donated by local businesses and individuals to ensure all proceeds benefit the nonprofit Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) cancer programs for children ($8,000 raised this year). Brenda told us, “The USPTA pros work with kids on a daily basis and we must take care of the kids. They are innocent little people and have a whole life ahead of them. By teaching them tennis, it gives them lessons for life including motivation, teamwork, self worth, discipline, and mostly how great is it to learn all these things while having fun.” Brenda also complimented the work of the JFCS in providing free counseling and classes for children and their families in their fight against cancer.
This year’s event was hosted by the Tennis Center at the Laurel Oak Country Club. Head Tennis Pro, Ty Braswell, welcomed over 125 participants in the group clinics held on at least twelve courts. Laurel Oak also donated one of its large rooms at the clubhouse for the dinner buffet and silent auction.
Photos: (Top, L to R) Laurel Oak Country Club Tennis Pros Mike Wilson and Steve Martin
(Center) Photo above of the Group Clinics: AquaNew COO Dana Gourley going for an overhead shot
(Bottom) USPTA Tennis Pros: Back row, L to R are Tony Acosta, John Janes, Cliff Vines, Mike Smith, John Woods, Ty Braswell, Greg High, Pancho Williams, and Matthew Liverman. Front row, L to R are Andrew Sirota, Brenda Mertz, Jim Mertz, John Bloom, Julio Moros, Mike Wilson, Charlie Sandomenico, Steve Getchell and Steve Martin