Swing for the Cure

A tennis tournament with my friends to benefit a cause near and dear to my heart? Sign me up!

Our club had the first annual Swing for the Cure this weekend, and what a fine time it was. The weather was sunny & warm, the mood was festive, and the teams were all decked out in pink. There was lots of bling, including some super cute blinged out fingernails.

There were so many different combinations of pink tennis outfits — tie dye, hot pink, light pink, black with pink…it was quite the rosy scene.

It seems fitting to have a tennis tournament that raises money for breast cancer outreach because both tennis and cancer can be epic battles. Hand-to-hand combat is required at times in both. Yannick Noah said once “I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their racquets and their courage as their weapons.” Guess what? Cancer required combat, too, and I’ve strapped on the gladiator mentality more than once, with courage as my main weapon.

I hadn’t realized just how many parallels can be drawn between tennis and cancer until now. Both require stamina and strategy. Both can be seen as a battle. Neither ensures any guarantees — the best player doesn’t always win, and sometimes the player does all she can and does everything right but doesn’t clench victory. Billie Jean King said that tennis is “a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility.” Ever stepped into an infusion room of an oncology clinic? It’s serene with soft colors on the walls, nurses with soft-soled shoes, fluffy and warm blankets if you feel a chill, and it’s perfectly acceptable to close your eyes and doze off. Meanwhile, poison drips into your veins — literally — or an injection sends a powerful hormone into your muscles to circumvent the wiring in your system and shut down your ovaries. Violent action in an atmosphere of total tranquility.

Pete Sampras said “It’s one-on-one out there, man. There is no hiding. I can’t pass the ball.” Was he talking about tennis or cancer? Could be either one. Could go either way. It is definitely true of both. There have been few times that I felt like hiding along my cancer “journey” because I’m a “grit your teeth and get through it” kind of girl, but there’ve been plenty of times I wish I could pass the ball. Let someone else take over for a while.

My good friends at Fiat of Clear Lake were generous enough to sponsor the Swing for the Cure tournament this year. A very nice and much-appreciated gesture, for sure.

In addition to laying down some sponsorship cash, they also brought one of the special-edition Pink Ribbon Fiats out for everyone to see.

How cute is this car??

Fiat teamed up with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to come up with this cutie. Available in white or silver, the Pink Ribbon Fiat features a pink stripe and a pink ribbon on each side of the 250 special-edition cars, along with super-cool interior designs. I may need to get a set of these floor mats for my car.

The pink stitching around the leather seats is so fine! It’s not on every area of stitched leather, so it accents the interior so nicely. Any more pink and it would seem overdone.

The pink ribbon along the side stripe isn’t in-your-face loud, but conveys the message quite nicely.

“The Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon edition offers a unique and stylish way to express their support, help fund breast cancer research and ultimately drive change,” said Laura Soave, head of Fiat North America.

My partner Julie and I were ready to drive change, for sure. We posed for our team photo then headed onto the courts to beat up on breast cancer.

Fiat is donating $1,000 per vehicle purchased, with a minimum of $50,000 to the breast cancer foundation.

I’m so glad Fiat chose to partner with the BCRF. I’ve said my piece about my disappointment with that other breast cancer organization. Yes, that other organization has increased awareness, decreased stigma, and paved the way for lots of effective change, but the BCRF wants to take all that a step further:

“The mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health. Currently, over 90 cents of every dollar donated goes to breast cancer research and awareness programs.”

That’s good stuff.

Here’s more:

“The BCRF was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder as an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding innovative clinical and translational research. In October 2011, BCRF will award $36.5 million to 186 scientists across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and China. With exceptionally low administrative costs, BCRF continues to be one of the most efficient organizations in the country and is designated an “A+” charity by The American Institute of Philanthropy, the only cancer organization to achieve this.”

Great friends, a day of tennis, and a good cause — it doesn’t get any better than that.