Buddies play an integral role in our weekly Buddy Up Tennis clinics. Many of the Buddies across our locations “grow up,” with Buddy Up Tennis as they begin working with our Athletes in middle school and they are on the courts with us each weekend until they graduate from high school. Some go on to become junior coaches, leading courts alongside our Buddy Up Tennis Coaches. Livie Mauger is one of those Buddies at our Columbus location. She started her Buddy Up Tennis journey as an 8th grader and has grown into an amazing role model and Junior Coach. As we get ready to wish Livie well in college, we would like to recognize her for the time and dedication that she has given to our Athletes over the past five years. She was recently awarded the Raising Cane’s Community Engagement Award, “which recognizes an athlete who embodies Cane’s motto, ‘One Love,’ giving back to their community through service.” We could not think of a Buddy more deserving of this award.
Livie has not only given her time to Buddy Up Tennis, but she has also given her heart. Her love for our Athletes is clearly depicted in her two favorite memories on the courts. At one of her first Buddy Up Tennis Clinics, she embraced the excitement that one of our Athletes expressed in the initial lap around the court, “One of my favorite memories is when Hannah and I were paired with Kambree, she grabbed both of our hands before the warm up lap and started running, and I still remember the expression on her face: she was smiling so wide it was like she had won the lottery!” Livie carried Kambree’s energy from middle to high school, from Buddy to Junior Coach.
There is another moment that defines Livie’s compassion for our Athletes, “My sister, Julia and I were both helping at clinic that day, and Angelina was talking about how she wished she had a sister. I said that Julia and I could be her honorary sisters, and she hugged us both. Ever since, we refer to each other as “sisters” at clinic, and she even introduced us to her mom that way!”
Livie has transformed into a leader on the courts, but her favorite part of Buddy Up Tennis goes back to her relationships with the Athletes and what she has learned from them, “My favorite part of a Buddy Up Tennis Clinic is simply sharing laughs, spontaneous hugs, and high fives — all the little things– with the Athletes. No matter what is going on in my life, I know that when I am at Buddy Up Tennis for those 90 minutes on Saturday, I will be surrounded by people filled with genuine love. Every week the Athletes teach me what it means to live and love wholeheartedly.”
The Buddy Up Tennis Columbus family has also learned from Livie, as her energy, passion, and excitement for working with our Athletes will be missed. But, we are excited to see what the future has in store for Livie as she embarks upon her next chapter at Georgia Institute of Technology in the Fall!