Thursday, November 15, 2012

FCGU's Men's Tennis Eagles Land on Shadow Wood

Dean Tsamas & Lance Lvovsky
share a table with Shadow Wood members
We have our share of terrific events in the Greater Fort Myers tennis community, but sometimes the stars align just right, and the pieces come together just so to encapsulate an occasion in its own bubble of rarified air. 

Director Dave Dooley directs
Mike Melnik, Bill Hollister, Dave Dooley and his staff, Shadow Wood’s Food & Beverage staff, the FGCU contingent (Coach Weber and his players, Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh, Senior Associate Athletic Director Butch Perchan, and Eagles Club Coordinator Graham Diemer), the generous sponsors, 

Ken Kavanagh, Mike Melnik,
Graham Diemer & spectator
and the participating racquet wielders came together to create such a moment at the FGCU- Shadow Wood Country Club- Bonita Community Health Center Tennis Celebration.

All together now
The event was orchestrated to raise revenue in support of Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Men’s Tennis Eagles, and more than 100 members gathered at Shadow Wood Country Club at the Brooks Friday, November 9, for fun, friends, fund raising, food, and tennis (not necessarily in that order).  

We're having a great time!
Even if you were comatose you would have felt the positive energy buzzing across the courts at Shadow Wood that night. Friends? Check! Food? Scrumptious! Fun? Non-stop! Fund raising? Cha Ching! Tennis? All one could ask for! 

Chris Perrigan & partner celebrate
There was just about every form of tennis imaginable at the event: Doubles, mixed doubles, singles, target tennis, beat the Eagles and more. And, after the participants had had their fill of testing the Eagles skills on court, and had had their fill of the sumptuous, palette-pleasing fare served up by the Shadow Wood Food & Beverage staff, they were treated to a tennis spectacle that only extremely talented and youthful players could provide. 

Fun at Shadow Wood

Dan & Jacquie Brady at work- photo 
edited byDan Brady
I could write ten thousand words, but photos from the event (photographer Dan Brady took some phenomenal shots!) would surely do a better job of conveying the spirit of the occasion (click here for Dan's photos). Steph and I took quite a few shots as well, so click here for more pics.

Jordi Vives & Eagle Azul run target tennis
The participants, who, along with the many sponsors, particularly event sponsor Bonita Community Health Center, made the event what it was, expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the event organizers and the players. 

Keith Butterfield in action
According to Keith Butterfield, one of the participating Shadow Wood members, “…Shadow Wood members were tremendously impressed with the FGCU players with whom they played.  Of course they were impressed with the players' talents (even though they were very aware that the guys were playing ‘customer tennis’) but they were even more impressed with how personable, poised and friendly the players were -- a well-deserved complement.  C.J. and FGCU should be very proud of how well these young men represent the university.”

Graham Diemer for FGCU Athletics
FGCU’s Men’s Tennis Eagles impressed more than the Shadow Wood membership. Eagles Club Coordinator, Graham Diemer, who expressed early in the proceedings that he would probably have to leave early, was still in attendance when the last ball was hit, and the last satisfied smile graced the remaining participants’ lips. “I haven’t really attended a tennis event, so I didn’t know what to expect,” he reported. “It was amazing! I had no idea that it would be so much fun! Our guys really represented themselves, the program, and the University well,” he concluded.

Mike Melnik MCs
Yes, the players’ performances provided plenty of entertainment, with and without members on court, Shadow Wood’s tennis staff and food & beverage staff held serve on their end of things, but Mike Melnik, Bill Hollister and the other member volunteers who orchestrated the setting and activities really aced their end of the bargain. 

How about this ambiance?
A creative, on-court dinner setting greeted participants and spectators as they arrived at the Shadow Wood venue, and the silent auction displays and banners from the more than 20 sponsors were tastefully distributed for browsing.

Event Sponsor Genesis Tennis
Speaking of sponsors, anyone who has ever organized a sponsored event knows how vital a role sponsors play. Event organizer Bill Hollister, in expressing his gratitude to sponsors, wrote, “Your generous contribution added to the excitement and generated [significant financial support] for FGCU Tennis. 

Silent Auction: What can I bid on?
Over 100 Shadow Wood members met the tennis players, bid on auction prizes and celebrated the re-opening of the Club after our recent $5 million expansion. Best of all the total revenue for the night was $8400!!!!”

Rebecca of Dr. Nadia Kasim's office
and Frank LaPuma & Julie LeBriton 
Primary among the sponsors of this event was Bonita Community Health Center (BCHC). In addition to their generous donation, BCHC staff was on site and in force. Julie LeBriton (Marketing Director), Rebecca Sanders (Fall Prevention Balance Clinician), and Frank LaPuma (Director of Rehabilitation) all stayed for the duration. 

In her reflections on the event, LeBriton remarked, "When Bill Hollister first approached me about Bonita Community Health Center sponsoring this event I thought it would be just another fundraiser. 

BCHC's Julie LeBriton on the mic
Then Bill and I met and he told me about what he and Mike envisioned for the FGCU Tennis Fundraiser Event. College athletes and Shadow Wood residents playing tennis together? I was intrigued. Seeing the finished product last Friday was fantastic. Bonita Community Health Center was honored to be part of such an amazing event."

Michael Beiler & partner celebrate
If you play the horses enough, eventually you’ll pick a winner, and I think the Southwest Florida tennis community and I have finally hit the jackpot!

Coach C.J. Weber thanks crowd
 If you have been reading this blog once in a while, you most certainly have “heard” me beating the drum for Florida Gulf Coast University’s Men’s Tennis Eagles. Well, Mike Melnik and Bill Hollister and the Shadow Wood Country Club community really brought the noise for the Eagles last Friday night.

Checking out Eagles Landing
The Shadow Wood event theme was, “The Eagles Have Landed,” which they surely did at Shadow Wood, and community participation such as we witnessed that night will certainly contribute to the Eagles soaring this coming spring season. Kudos to the entire Shadow Wood at the Brooks community for hosting such a spectacular occasion!

Tianyu Bao entertains members
The schedule for the Eagles’ coming season is available here and on the FGCU website. If you would like to be a part of the wind beneath the Eagles wings, drop me an email at or call me at 407-466-4652. Game, set, Match…T. A.

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