By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Community members from around the Columbus area and Capital University student-athletes gathered on Friday, March 8 to cheer and watch the Buddy Up tennis program host a skills showcase at The Capital Center Field House.
Founded in December of 2008 as a single tennis clinic in Columbus, Buddy Up Tennis, Inc. has expanded rapidly across the country. Buddy Up Tennis is more than just a set of programs – it is a movement that utilizes tennis, fitness, and fun to make strides for the Down syndrome community and its allies, nationwide.
The "Buddy Up Family Fun Event" was co-sponsored by multiple Subaru dealerships in the Columbus area and Capital University. It was a special occasion event planned to allow Buddy Up athletes to display their skills following a season of hard work and dedication to the sport. Buddy Up has athletes from ages five to 55 that meet weekly to participate in tennis and fitness programs.
Over 200 parents, friends, family and Capital students and staff were in attendance to watch the showcase as well as engage with the athletes in a fun-filled evening that included music, a dance party, balloon artist, bounce house, games, and art station. Competitions were had when various Buddy Up athletes teamed up for exhibition doubles play against the Capital women's tennis team. A tug of war bout broke out between Buddy Up and multiple Capital teams, the most intense competition being against the OAC regular season champion men's basketball team.
Unfortunately, the Crusaders were taken down by the Buddy Up all-stars in a back-and-forth affair.
Capital University student-athletes representing nearly every varsity manned various sport stations located throughout the field house in order to give Buddy Up athletes and others in attendance the chance to try different sports, including basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and football.
"It was such a rewarding experience to team up with Buddy Up because it's a group of athletes that have the same energy and drive that motivates us all to do what we love," said Capital Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) president, Sam Sech. "There was no greater feeling than making the participants smile by either cheering them on during their competitions or dancing with them for hours on end. I hope Buddy Up had as much fun as us because I know we would love to have them back next year."
Founder and president of Buddy Up Tennis, Beth Gibson, said, "We were all blown away at how genuinely engaged the Capital athletes were at this event with our athletes. It was a Friday night … they could have been anywhere but there they all were interacting with our athletes. Everywhere we looked, there were smiles on everyone's face! Capital athletes are individuals with character, pride and most importantly, have a whole lot of heart."
For more information on Buddy Up Tennis, click on the link or visit www.BuddyUpTennis.com.