For a second year, Wellington-area tennis enthusiasts and animal lovers gathered to generate support for a great cause and to remember a late, great friend who loved to play tennis and take care of four-legged furry friends.
On Sunday, March 28, the Wellington Tennis Center hosted the second annual Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Fundraiser. More than 90 tennis players participated in the event to raise money for X-Port Paws, a local nonprofit that works to save dogs and cats from euthanasia.
“Not only will the efforts of X-Port Paws keep animals alive, it allows us to remember our friend Lisa Bowman, who loved animals as much as she did the game of tennis,” event organizer Liz Stockton said. “Lisa Bowman was our dear friend, who was also an animal advocate, amazing teammate, cherished daughter, sister, aunt and friend.”
Bowman died in 2019.
In recent months, X-Port Paws has saved the lives of 28 dogs, eight puppies, seven kittens and two cats.
According to Stockton, the financial goal of the event was to raise at least $5,000 so even more animals can be saved and given a new home. Stockton’s goal was based on what was done last year, when the inaugural Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Fundraiser raised enough money to build a new kennel at the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach.
“We met our goal of raising at least $5,000,” Stockton said. “And the more money we raise, the more effective that X-Port Paws can be in saving the lives of local dogs and cats, which have been deemed too old, too sick or too much to handle. At X-Port Paws, we leave no dog or cat behind.”
To help make the event fun, fair and competitive, there were three levels of competition, and prizes were distributed at each level. For tennis players who play singles and doubles tennis, triples tennis is one of the disciplines within the sport of cardio tennis where there are three players on each side of the net, and a lower-compression orange-dot ball is used. The special tennis ball allows rallies to continue longer, so the tennis experience can be a fun and physical workout.
Throughout the three-hour event, there was a festive atmosphere as music was played, volunteers served water and sponsors distributed samples. COVID-19 protocols and social distancing were strictly enforced.
Attendees enjoyed the lighthearted tennis experience.
“I thought the event was perfect,” Heather Sambora of Wellington said. “It was wonderful, fun, fast and friendly.”
“I loved playing tennis for a good cause,” Joanne Sullivan of Lake Worth added.
Bowman’s friend Debra James of Wellington agreed.
“Today, we had good exercise, great camaraderie and great music,” she said.
“I played in this event last year, and I like to support a good cause,” Wellington’s Karl McCarthy added
Stockton said that this year’s event was an overwhelming success.
“I thought we had an amazing show of support,” she said. “It speaks volumes for how much this community cares about animals. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our tennis pros, our volunteers and the Village of Wellington, who helped make this event a reality. My event committee here and my board of directors at X-Port Paws, as well as my family, have been very supportive of my efforts to save the lives of these animals.”
At the end of the tournament, a complimentary dinner was provided by Mamma Mia’s Trattoria & Brick Oven Pizzeria, free single-serve desserts were served by Fête Pâtisserie and goody bags were distributed by Junko Goldman Realty.
Other sponsors of the second annual Lisa Bowman Triples Tennis Fundraiser included Mobile Tack, Sloan’s Ice Cream, Linda Esposito Realtor/Home Design/Staging, Jake’s Pet Food and the Village of Wellington.
Plans are already underway for the third annual fundraiser in March 2022.