“The serve was invented so that the net could play.” – Bill Cosby
The 13th Annual Wooden Racket Classic
Imagine spending an entire weekend with truly phenomenal human beings, indulging in fantastic Tennis, being taken back to the early days of the sport, AND enjoying this all while knowing the weekend benefits a VERY worthy cause. Now, stop imagining. That is precisely how I spent a weekend recently while attending the 13th Annual Wood Racket Classic Men & Women’s Tournament and Fundraiser in Costa Mesa. Put on by the fabulous Leisure Society (thanks to Shane Baum), The Wood Racquet Foundation, and Rolls Royce Motor Cars of Newport Beach, they were able to raise thousands of dollars to benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. The weather was superb, the Cause so worthy, and the group of people in show of support and in the spirit of competition was truly beautiful. The weekend began with a yacht ride Friday afternoon to be followed by a superb Pre-Game Event at the Boathouse Collective … A rare little gem housing surfboards, old boat parts, a rustic yet alluring vibe and as it were, the divine blends of Acai infused Vodka, the masterful pairing of Fork, Knife + Spoon Fare, and the seriously cure-all musical styling of “the Mattson two”.
During the evening, after indulging in exemplary food and drink, talking to the most lovely guests and friends, there was a Video Presentation presented by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s Ethan Wayne, Greg Graber, Tonia Farman, Mandy McDowell, and Katrina Seidel to introduce us to two amazing Programs for those with Cancer or Life Threatening Illness. The 1st is the Athletes 4 Cancer Surf & SUP Survivorship Camp. A “Camp”, free of cost, for young Adults 18-40 who have been diagnosed with Cancer and are taking their lives back. This is not just some random Camp – this is a camp that inspires people with or without cancer. It gives us all an opportunity to start living – to do something that embraces total and complete freedom, go into Mother Nature’s divine sea, and find your pulse on the water. Needless to say, once you’ve seen the videos it’s impossible not to want to be a part of it. To learn the true impact of this Camp, PLEASE visit www.Athletes4Cancer.org
The 2nd Video Presentation was for The Wallgang Camp at Roundup River Ranch in Colorado. This camp is a camp for children with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions. There is NO cost to the children who come and the camp runs solely on donations and benefactors. The camp allows these children to experience life like never before: riding horses, swimming, meeting other children with similar illnesses or in similar situations. It is an awe-inspiring camp that is not only beautiful but healing in so many ways. Please take a moment to watch the videos of the campers by visiting their site at:
Day 1 was a success.
Day 2 began the Preliminary Matches that were held at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach. The day began early and the competition was fierce. Each team played with absolute focus and in the end, each bracket was determined. The lineup of Players geared up to swing the wood racket included Singer/Host – Mark McGrath, Actor – Martin Kove, Actress – Bridgete Moynahan, Director – McG Nichol, Designer – Shane Baum, Professional Golfer – Troy Grant, Designer – Travis “Matthews” Johnson, Kevin Meehan, Fuel TV’s Pat Parnell, returning champs Zaccardo/Hansen, and a plethora of impressive participants. At the end of the Preliminary matches, A Restaurant & Market hosted a casual dinner at the Restaurant for everyone that participated or attended. A Restaurant also provided all of the meals at each Event.
Day 3. The Tournament Begins. Set in Costa Mesa, the Wood Racket Classic Courts are set up in the backyard of two private homes with adjoining yards. Booths, restrooms, tables, check in, Paul Frank sunglasses for Sale, tables of Items to Bid On including a $1000 prize to have a Yo Gabba Gabba party with DJ Lance, A beautiful collection of House of Balsamic, a beautiful gown, and a slew of other worthy giveaways – the day was ready to hammer that fuzzy green wall into gleeful submission. The courts were clear, the VIP tables set up, white chairs adorned the tailored lawns, a beautiful spread of Champagne, strawberries, coffee, pastries, and fresh roses waited for guests to partake – and the Games were well on their way. This was unlike any Event I’ve ever been to. Not only was this a blend of fascinating characters, it was also a VERY public display of human beings coming together to fight a single cause. Cancer.
The players – AND the crowd – were ready to take this Tennis Match to a space in time where every era, every fashion statement, every theme was free to blend and have some much needed (and much encouraged) fun! With the continual clever banter of the Announcer, the true cadence of the rackets hitting that fuzzy little green ball with complete abandon, the smell of Rasta Tacos sizzling over the grills, Bars overflowing with wines, beers, mixed cocktail blends, the roar of the crowd, the fantastic conversations, the delectable fashions, the remarkable stream of Sportsmanship, and the heart behind this event was evident in every direction. After hours of playing, teams getting closer and closer to the final Bracket, the day came to a sweet end and the Winners were announced:
Returning champs of team Zaccardo/Hansen left as this year’s Champions again.
Team Rabbit/Vaughn were our Women’s Division Champions this year!
I am honored that I was able to be a part of such a tremendous Event that puts all of their Efforts into raising money for various Charities and Causes everywhere. Next year, I’m hoping to find myself on those courts!!
I encourage you to make a Donation to any of the Charities listed above (A breakdown of how a small amount can change everything for Survivorship Camp children and adults are listed at the end of this post). Cancer is the most indiscriminate disease known to man and personally, I’d like to see it get its butt kicked!
The Event Sponsors: This years event was made possible because of: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars of Newport Beach, A Restaurant, SMELive, The McCray Family, The Peterson Family, Riviera Magazine, Boathouse Collective, Palisades Tennis Club, Rasta Taco, Pabst Blue Ribbon, VeeV Vodka, Stone Brewery, DeLeon Tequila, Glennefidich, and Pride Vineyards.
In addition to Sponsors, there was an unbelievable group of volunteers including: Rebecca Peterson, Liz McCray, Greg Graber, Don & Sheri Baum, and the staff at Leisure Society, including Bud Mastropaolo.
DONATE – What each $ Goes towards:
$5: One bottle of Advil
$15-25: Gas to drive a minivan of campers from camp to Surf & SUP lesson location
$23: Feeds one survivor three homemade healthy meals each day!
$170: One day of adventure instruction, gear, and support for one survivor!
$291: Pays for one full day of camp for one survivor!
$500: Pays for a round-trip ticket for one survivor to fly to camp!
$1600: Sends a survivor to attend camp!
$3500: Funds one full day of camp for all survivors!
$21,000: Funds one full camp!
Be a part of something extraordinary.