June 21st, 2016

Tallahassee Tennis Blog: Christmas-in-June Charity Event a Huge Success

Courtside Adult Tennis News

Catholic charitiesThe 8th annual Christmas Connection Tennis Tournament, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs Department, was held on June 18, 2016 at Forest Meadows Park.

The Christmas Connection tournament is one of the largest charity events held in Tallahassee each year. Since the inaugural event in 2009, more than $40,000 has been raised for Catholic Charities which provides hundreds of needy families from all religions, races, and ethnic backgrounds in Northwest Florida emergency assistance, counseling, pregnancy, adoption, and/or immigration and refugee services. At least two of the players in this year’s event stated that they have been the beneficiaries of one of the many programs administered by Catholic Charities.

This year, 80 players ranging in age from 15-80 participated in the event which utilized a round robin format, consisting of a six game set with no ad scoring. Players could purchase poker chips to play “Let Agains” (one per game per team), which added excitement to the competition.

Because the event fell on Father’s Day weekend, father-daughter, father-son, and husband-wife pairings were popular. The event also featured an exhibition match at lunch highlighting former and current college-level players representing Wake Forest, Virginia, Kalamazoo, and Stetson.

Because of the generosity of court sponsors, 100 percent of the player’s registration fees went directly to the programs administered by Catholic Charities. In addition, more than $500 in player prizes was donated by local businesses to help offset tournament costs.

According to Tournament Directors Chuck and Candace Bunker, “the continued success of this tournament is attributed to the support of both the local business community and the players who chose to dedicate a portion of their day to come out and support Catholic Charities. We continue to see many players return to the tournament year after year and are humbled by their support and commitment to this charity tournament.”

“The Catholic Charities doubles event is not only a well-run tournament, but a great fundraiser for many community-based programs in North Florida that help many less fortunate individuals,” said Mark Casteel, who has played in the event for a number of years.

The winners of the tournament included: 6.5 Women: Melissa Heaney/Deepti Deeptii; 7.5 Women: Annie Kelley/Laura Kirchoff; 8.5 Women: Xiaobing Zhang/Yi Zhu; 6.5 Men: Phil Ross/John Falls; 7.5 Men: Arnie Cooperman/Allen Northrup; 8.5 Men: David Reid/Logan Reid; 6.5 Mixed: Wendy Johnson/Dan Johnson; 7.5 Mixed: Laura Kirchoff/Bill Kirchoff; and 8.5 Mixed: James Waczewski/Estella Waczewski.