Promoting friends, fun, and a love for the game of tennis, The Friends of Tewksbury Tennis plan to host their 2nd Annual Tewksbury Open Tennis Tournament the weekend of June 22-24 at the Livingston Street courts in Tewksbury.
“We’re trying to use it not only as a fundraiser but as a way for people who play tennis and enjoy tennis to come out and have a friendly, competitive experience, and hopefully meet other people in town who also love to play tennis,” said FTT member Mary McDonald, also the head coach of the girls’ tennis team at TMHS.
The Friends of Tewksbury Tennis serve as a booster organization to the high school tennis program, they support tennis across town, and their mission also includes improving the current courts, trying to get more courts in town, and promoting the sport itself.
“[Proceeds from the tournament would go towards] everything from scholarships for graduating seniors to supplies for the team,” said Toby Sedgwick, also a member of the Friends of Tewksbury Tennis. “It would be great if we could raise thousands and thousands of dollars towards the cost of getting more courts,” she said with a laugh, “but that’s a very lofty goal. We’re starting small because we’re new.”
“You do want to try and get a little money in the bank for the booster group because things do come up and you want to support things,” added McDonald. “This year they gave scholarships to the graduating seniors for the first time and that’s a really nice thing, but there’s more to it than just supporting the high school team. I think promoting the game and getting people [involved is what it’s all about].”
Although the fundraising aspect seems to be just an added bonus to an enjoyable day, there seemed to be no better way to raise a few dollars than holding a tennis tournament.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is promote tennis as a life sport and use the courts that we have in town and it just kind of led itself into [the idea of holding] a tournament,” said McDonald. “Where we as a group are in existence to not only support the high school team but to promote the game of tennis, it just kind of seemed like an obvious choice to do as a fundraiser.”
The tournament will be a weekend-long event open to people of all ages and from all towns. The event is set in a bracket-style system with both singles and doubles matches planned. Some preliminary matches will be
played that Friday evening with the bulk of the tournament’s matches held on Saturday. A few final matches would be played on Sunday if it became necessary.
While this is the organization’s second time hosting the event, they are hoping for an even greater turnout this year. Last year’s tournament generated about 20-30 participants and around $650 in funds raised.
“Last year everyone that came in played really, really had a good time,” McDonald added. “They all said they will be back next year. It was a very positive day. Hopefully this year will be a little bigger than last year, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
In addition to an enjoyable day of tennis, snacks and refreshments will be sold. All participants will receive a t-shirt with the names of some area business sponsors, as well as a cooler bag donated by UniFirst Corporation of Wilmington, as a way to thank them for signing up and for coming out and participating.
The Friends of Tewksbury Tennis are still looking for additional businesses to sponsor the event. In addition to UniFirst, Family Care of Tewksbury and K.A. Telecom are listed as sponsors of the event so far, and have played a big part in helping to defray some of the upfront costs of running the event.
But regardless of the financial gains, McDonald said they are just hoping that it leads to people finding other people to play with that all enjoy the game.
McDonald described a group of men that came and played in the tournament last year and ended up exchanging emails and phone numbers so they could get together and play again in the future.
“That’s as rewarding as anything else,” she said. “It was a really pleasant, nice group of people and the one thing they all had in common was that they liked to play tennis so I just hope it continues.”
With the tournament still two weeks away, there is still time to register for any interested participants. Anyone can download an entry form off of the Friends of Tewksbury Tennis page on Facebook, or email FFT president Barry Lewin and the organization for more information at email@example.com. The entry fee is just $15 per player.
“We’re just hoping for good weather and a fun day,” said Sedgwick.