Nearly 400 SWCC tennis members, friends and fans attended the 8th annual Proshot Tennis exhibition, which recently raised more than $20,000 for the Shadow Wood Charitable Foundation.
In the feature match, tennis legend Mikeal Pernfors teamed with Gulf Harbour Golf & Country Club Pro Mike Curran to nip former touring standout Robert Kendrick and Shadow Wood’s Scott Harrington in a third-set tiebreaker. Their March 5 match was preceded by a full morning of pro-am tennis and instructional clinics that included about 25 SWCC members. Spectators also were treated to a professional women’s match featuring top local pros Bella Graf, Natalia Maynetto, Martina Fratova and Maja Ornberg. The event was open to the public.
The real star of the show was chair umpire Jimmy Arias, who dazzled the crowd with his comedic chops and tennis knowledge. Arias, once the world’s fifth ranked player, was scheduled to play at Proshot until recent eye surgery shifted his role to master of ceremonies. Arias presently serves as a Tennis Channel commentator and director of player development at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.
“Jimmy really kept the fans fully entertained,” said Sharon Rosen, who founded Proshot with Harrington and her husband Mitch. The Rosens and SWCC Sports Director Dave Dooley did much of the heavy lifting in organizing the event. They were assisted by Tammy Katz, Clark Bell, Betsy Lucke, Robin Marcus, Harrington and Elliott Hastings.
Chateau Gaby, a French winery in the Bordeaux region, was the main underwriter of the event. Other major sponsors included KeyBank, Beef-A-Roo Franchising, Cabinets to Go, First Horizon Bank, Estero Bay Chevrolet, Installed Right, SFV Services, Betsy Baker/Real Estate Agent for Keller William Elite Realty, SPF-Sun Protection of Florida, CMR Construction & Roofing, Boston Retirement Advisors, DeAngelis Diamond Construction, Infinite Aqua, Horowitch Family Foundation, Raymond James/Family Wealth Planning Group, Chris and Valerie Bopp, Diamond District and Able & Willing Pavers II.
“It’s a pleasure to sponsor Proshot and support the Foundation,” said Betsy Baker, a long-time Shadow Wood resident whose husband Buddy is an avid senior tennis player.
The real winner of Proshot is the Shadow Wood Charitable Foundation. The combination of sponsorships, individual donations, a popular raffle and BBQ cookout netted more than $20,000 for the Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants to local charities.
Many of the Foundation trustees attended the exhibition. Doug Timmel was “part of the cheering, enthusiastic crowd” and gave “a big shout out” to the Rosens and the volunteer committee. Mike LaForte said “this event helps us expand the reach of the Foundation.”
SWCF Treasurer and incoming President Steve Zentz was among the guests at a March 4 cocktail reception where Pernfors and Arias swapped stories about classic matches and their relationships with some of the most famous names in tennis history. “Proshot is just one of the important fund-raising activities that assists the Foundation in raising more than $1 million a year to support scholarships and worthy charitable programs,” Zentz said.
Meanwhile, SWCC Head Pro Scott Harrington continues to lick his wounds after losing in the Proshot final. After winning the event in the 2015 inaugural, Scott has been a runner-up on six occasions. He looks forward to the next Proshot, tentatively scheduled for March 2023.
“Bring ‘em on. I’ll be ready,” he said. “Nobody beats Scott Harrington seven times in a row. Nobody.”