Lobs & Lessons tourney serves up fun for families


Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Mary and Frances Youth Center program hosted its first Lobs & Lessons Family Open on Saturday, Sept. 17. The inaugural tournament attracted 68 players, more than 50 volunteers and raised $2,400 to support Lobs & Lessons programming.

“The Lobs and Lessons Family Open was a wonderful event,” said Tom Burke (B.S.’79/E; M.P.A.’95/H&S), executive director of the VCU Foundation, who played in the tournament with Will Hoffler, an 11-year-old student at St. Michael’s in Richmond. “We had a great time participating as well as helping to raise some funds for the program.”

The tournament reflects the ongoing partnership between the Lobs & Lessons program and the Richmond Tennis Association to develop QuickStart Tennis in the greater Richmond area. QST is a teaching format that allows more children the opportunity to experience the game, as the courts and equipment are smaller so they can feel confident.

“The 2011 Lobs & Lessons Family Open was a great event and is sure to become one of the most anticipated events on the Richmond tennis calendar for years to come, promoting tennis, family fun and a healthy, active lifestyle is an unbeatable combination,” said Eric Perkins, president of Richmond Tennis Association, who played in the tournament with his daughter.

The tournament was designed to promote healthy lifestyles and sportsmanship and to demonstrate that tennis is fun at any age, while providing a low-cost tournament opportunity for the greater Richmond area.

All participants played on 36-feet QST courts, using 23-inch racquets and foam balls. Adult-child doubles teams played six, 12-minute matches, using a round-robin, nonelimination format. Points from each match were kept to produce a cumulative total for each team, which eventually led to crowning a winner.

“Lobs and Lessons builds hope, confidence and character for young people,” said Magnus H. Johnsson (Cert.’10/H&S; M.P.A.’10/H&S), a volunteer and executive director of external affairs and development for the School of Education. “This was on full display on Saturday. The Family Open brought together adults and children for a wonderful day of tennis and learning. I left exhausted, satisfied and touched at the same time seeing the impact the Family Open had on the children and families present.”