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Florida Tennis Briefs(2): Panhandle Leagues; Mal Washington Foundation

September 21, 2011 10:38 PM
September Big Month for League Tennis

by Kelly Tucker, TennisLife-Florida columnist, Region 1-East (Panhandle)

September sets the stage for the start of several leagues for woman: the USTA day league, the USTA Combo league, and the Professional Women's Tennis League (PWTL). 

The PWTL, sponsored by the Tallahassee Tennis Association (TTA), kicked off its annual fall season by hosting a round robin play day on Aug. 20 at Forest Meadows to introduce the league to players with NTRP ratings between 2.5 and 4.5. The league, which is well over 25 years old, is geared toward the professional woman who was unable to play during the day or evenings due to her work schedule. The league offers matches on Saturday mornings at Forest Meadows and Hilaman Park beginning at 8:30 am. The league will officially kick off its season on Sept. 10 and will run through mid January. 

There are a total of 10 matches that are followed by an end of the season round robin and awards luncheon. This year's league coordinator is TTA's newly-appointed President Sue James. Teams are formed through a draft of players who either sign up as a team or individually. Teams play anywhere from three to four doubles matches each week depending on the number of players who register. 

The PWTL league has been somewhat of a charitable-run organization in that a good portion of the money that is raised through the league is given back to the community in the way of honoring those tennis players who had passed away or to make donations to children's programs such a Special Olympics of Leon County, the former First Serve Tennis Program at Jake Gaither and Fourth Avenue Recreation Centers, and other charities. In essence whoever the league participants thought was most in need of charity was the organization that received the money left over after all the league's expenses.

For me the PWTL league was my first introduction to a team format after I left college, so returning to the league this year after being away for more than 20 years and two teenagers later is quite exciting and brings back some pretty happy memories. Thanks PWTL!!

MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation Gala Raises $225,000
MWKF logoThe Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Golf & Tennis Gala to benefit the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation (MWKF) was held over two days on Sept. 12-13. The event included tennis and golf pro-ams and a gala dinner for nearly 400 people.

During the Gala program, 17 MWKF students were recognized for their accomplishments and awarded $70,000 in college scholarships. The event included a silent and live auction including private tennis lessons with Andre Agassi and Stephanie Graf, a round of golf with Jim Furyk and tennis great Ivan Lendl, and a seven-day vacation at Club Med's Sandpiper Resort. The event raised approximately $225,000 for the programs and services of the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation.

Celebrities who participated in this year's gala included NBA great Sam Jones; former Jacksonville Jaguar Tony Brackens; actor Chris Bruno; comedian and "Seinfeld" inspiration Kenny Kramer; former major league baseball players Sid Roberson and Desi Relaford; and tennis greats Todd Martin, Brian Gottfried, Jan-Michael Gambill, and Ricardo Acuna, among others.

This is year marks the 15 year anniversary of the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation. The Foundation has celebrated their anniversary with special projects including a 15 days of community service projects, an alumni party which brought together past staff, students and supporters in a reunion type celebration, and a free Kids Carnival sponsored by Verizon Wireless for the community.

MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation is a local, non-profit youth development organization which operates the TnT (Tennis-n-Tutoring) after-school program. The TnT program services over 180 underserved youth in the community and provides free homework assistance, tennis lessons and life skills classes to youth in grades kindergarten through high School on Monday through Friday.

The mission of the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation is to develop champions in classrooms, on tennis courts and throughout communities.

For additional information contact Ashley Strickland at Ashley@malwashington.com or (904) 359-5437.






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