Net gain: Annual Y tourney mixes fun and competitiveness


It was a typically bustling Saturday morning at the Greater Marco Family YMCA – yoga in the gym, people working out in the fitness center and swimmers doing laps or aqua fitness in the pool.

But over on the tennis courts this weekend, there was a slight edge to the proceedings as players vied for assorted honors in the annual “Love of the Y” tennis tourney.

“They compete, but they also socialize and have a good time,” said Y Tennis Director Roberto Saad while penciling in incoming results on a score sheet on the wall.

Jim Bursch returns a wide shot while his wife Dana watches the opposition.

Categories were men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, with players ranging from 3.0 to 3.5 and 4.0 in ability levels.

Watching from the sidelines, it was clear that matches weren’t do-or-die affairs, but the competitiveness was certainly there.

“It can be tiring for them too,” said Saad. “In doubles, you get lots of drop shots that make opponents scramble a lot. Today, the format is two sets and a tie-breaker set (if necessary) because everybody gets at least two matches (through a loser bracket).”

Saad said while this particular tournament had a relatively small turnout, the Y caters for about 500 players who mostly enjoy social round robins.

Almost half of those indeed play in local district and USTA tournaments and leagues, and most recently a Marco Y woman’s team won a state championship in Daytona Beach.

Saad, a former Argentinian Davis Cup player, said the benefits of playing tennis at any level are undeniable.

Player Jodi Schaufus executes a perfect ball toss as she serves during one of her matches.

He cited Love of the Y tourney participant Jodi Schaufus, a cancer survivor who’s now in great physical and mental shape.

“Tennis helps (survivors) to get back to normal life afterwards, and makes them feel healthy,” Saad said.

During a break in matches, Schaufus agreed that tennis is therapeutic, but added that after cancer: “Everything is therapeutic too.”

Schaufus is with the Y’s membership services department, and also assists in the tennis office.

For the record, tournament winners were Leslie Bell and Jan Jackman in women’s doubles, Michael Rathbone and Anthony Tarardjian in men’s doubles and Jodi Schaufus and Michael Alvarez in the mixed doubles sections.

To find out more about the Marco Y’s wide range of programs and activities for adults and youth, call 394-3144.