The first weekend in May was a record-breaking one for the Columbus Classic, as they celebrated their 8th annual tennis tournament and raised $2500 for Buddy Up Tennis. Buddy Up Tennis thrives on community, and specifically on the tennis community. The players of the Columbus Classic not only raised money for Buddy Up Tennis, but also focused on our Athletes through a fitness challenge and a Star Level Showcase on the Saturday morning of the tournament.

According to tournament director Mark Buckingham, “The Columbus Classic is one of over 80 events from across the globe produced by the GLTA (Gay & Lesbian Tennis Association), and hosts over 100 competitors from outside the state of Ohio. All of the tournaments have a charitable benefactor. Our Columbus Classic, as well as the Queen City Open of Cincinnati, both benefit Buddy Up Tennis.”

Although competing against one another, the players of the tournament became a team as soon as they put on their “Buddy” nametags and joined our Athletes on the court for an energetic Buddy Up Tennis Fitness Challenge and Star Level Showcase in Columbus. This unifying component set this tournament apart from others. However, it was not just the comradery that made this tournament unique, but also the mutual impact, unusual at most tennis tournaments, but so common at Buddy Up Tennis clinics. The players impacted the Buddy Up Tennis Athletes by contributing financially to the program and allowing them to shine and showcase their skills on the courts. Likewise, the Athletes left a lasting impact on the tournament players, as they motivated the players to always reach for a Personal BEST on the courts!

In addition to an onsite Fitness Challenge and Athlete Star Level Showcase, Athlete Susan Jefferis was given the opportunity to share her gratitude for supporters of Buddy Up Tennis at the Columbus Classic Banquet. “Buddy Up Tennis has helped me to be Capable, Confident and Brave!” she said. “Thank you, Stephanie and Mark, for providing me with this opportunity to share my passion for Buddy Up Tennis with you! Thank you, Columbus Classic, for supporting Buddy Up Tennis, a program that creates brave Athletes and loves me for being me.”

Mark also noted that Susan’s speech added tremendously to the poignancy of the banquet and the entire tournament. “I can easily say that Susan was the highlight of our Columbus Classic banquet,” he stated.  “She truly spoke to the hearts of our players and sponsors. It was very important to have Susan with us to give a voice to Buddy Up Tennis.”

We want to echo Susan’s appreciation for all those who participated in the Columbus Classic, both as a player in the tournament and on the courts with our Athletes. Thank you for supporting our Brave Athletes, like Susan!