As we read in a recent issue of the APTA Magazine, there are many charitable events taking place across the paddle community each year. Tremendous causes and passionate paddlers – it’s a great combination. For those organizations lucky enough to tap into our unique blend of intense competitiveness and incredible camaraderie, the results are nothing short of inspiring.
The annual SIS tournament in Rochester is certainly no exception. Breast cancer has hit many of our paddlers directly and indirectly as many of us not to mention our moms, sisters, aunts, friends, grandmothers have fought, have survived or sadly have lost their battle with this disease – AND even a few of our male paddlers (as we know breast cancer is tragically, not a disease that discriminates).
SIS .. Sustain Inspire Survive provides financial assistance, essential services and quality of life enhancements to those in treatment for breast cancer. Grants for wigs, for rent/mortgage payments, for utility bills, for groceries… you can’t get more ‘real world’ than that. Dollars that directly impact the day to day living of those undergoing chemo, radiation and other treatments. When you are battling breast cancer, you need all your might, your strength, your energy to fighting the fight – you should not be worrying how you will afford groceries because you can’t work and collect your paycheck. SIS makes sure you have the resources to do just that.
So that’s why we paddle… now – who does the paddling? This event grows year over year and in 2013, 100 teams of women competed in courts/clubs across Rochester in what rivals the largest single day tournament in the US. The tournament is actually 6, 7 and sometimes 8 tournaments all together with teams placed in Draws A through G or higher to ensure competitive and fun play for all.
Paddlettes from across Rochester join with friends from Pittsburgh, New York City, Buffalo and Toronto and parts in between for this event that could also be dubbed the Pepto-Bismol Open with the amount of pink sported by the ladies. They enjoyed at least 3 matches, fruit and snacks at all huts, lunch, dinner, drinks and after party with a long sleeve dri fit shirt all for only $65. All proceeds go to local women with breast cancer to help them handle their bills and finances.
One of the best volunteer Committees around inspires those of us that play with their tireless energy and passion to make the day memorable for all. The Executive Committee consists of Lisa Hayes who coordinates the registrations and donations, Maryann Lester who assists with sponsorship, planning and donations and Steve Pike – who handles promotion and scheduling of the tournament using 10 clubs and oversees the event operations. Steve is the General Manager at the host club, The Tennis Club of Rochester (TCR) and is always looking for more women from across the APTA to come to Rochester to participate.
Through the efforts of the donation committee “SIS” boasts one of the best Chinese Auctions ever seen at any event and is a testament to the hard work of the committee and the support of local businesses and retailers. Keegan Brown, Nancy Chodak, Wendy Gladstone Brown, “Founder of the Tournament” Carrie Irvine and Harriet Renzi gathered over 100 prizes that were raffled off raising over $8000.
One of the great parts of the event is that almost half the players take home a prize. A growing trend is that many of the players are even donating prizes. This year MaryAnn Lester donated a Surface, Ann Marie Fallek provided an awesome kitchen package from Williams & Sonoma & of course Kate Vanzile as she does every year donated an all inclusive trip to somewhere warm.
Prizes are awarded to the winners in all draw categories but the Committee takes special care to recognize those whose spirit helps to make the day even more fun including: best team costume, best hats, best legs, “breast” in show. But the real winners are those that benefit directly from the work of SIS.
2013 marked the 7th year of SIS and it has raised a cumulative total of $150,000. We’re making a difference, one boob at a time.
So, put this one down on your calendars next year Paddlettes – get your pink out and let’s do this. Join us on Saturday, January 18th for the 8th Annual SIS.
Division Winners and Finalists were as follows:
Winners: Sandra Odenbach & Stephanie Russell
Finalists: Kelly Brown & Rita Kladstrup
Winners :Andrea Sperry & Kathleen Alfano
Finalists :Stacy Barkstrom & Cathy Downs
Winners: Carol McKenzie & Hillary Parrinello
Finalists: MaryAnn Lester & Allison Carling
Winners: Jody Sokal & Rachel Bigby
Finalists :Marybeth Rumble & Shelly Strachan
Winners: Erin Lalley & Joan Barrett
Finalists: Valarie Bartolotta & Keri Curtis
Winners: Erin Danielle & Lisa Ponticello
Finalists: Mary Corcoran & Elizabeth Buckley
Winners: Ragni Mehta & Dawn Newmark
Finalists: Sue Campbell & Heather Evans
Please check out slideshows from the tournament sites and the after party: