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Spud Tournament a Success

DSCN0964The summer heat and humidity did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm and spirit of the dozens of athletes competing at the Belton, SC tennis courts this past weekend.  These athletes, distinguished by their friendliness and status as Special Olympics participants, enjoyed two days of competitive tennis at USTA Southern’s 2nd Annual Special Populations Unified Doubles (SPUD) Tournament.
Athletes traveled from across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to participate in the festivities, and were assigned a volunteer partner to play doubles and assist the athletes with the intricacies of the game.  Partners helped the athletes keep score, know where to position themselves on the court, and to have the most fun possible.
Southern’s first SPUD tournament was held in June 2010, and the participation numbers more than doubled by the time the 2011 tournament was held.  Approximately 60 athletes, many of who attended last year’s tournament, enjoyed this year’s event.  
Through the generous support of sponsors including Chick-Fil-A, Pepsi, the Belton Tennis Association, individual donors, and local businesses, athletes enjoyed sandwiches and soft drinks during the day and the pizza party held in their honor Friday evening.  Athletes also received awards commemorating their participation, t-shirts emblazoned with the SPUD logo, and a group photograph of all the players and volunteers.
Southern hopes to continue the SPUD tournament tradition next year and is looking for more volunteers to make the event an even bigger success in the future.  Contact USTA South Carolina at 1-800-644-7282 if you are interested in hearing more about the tournament.