Today’s Editorial December 03: Tennis anyone?

One of Cayman’s most entertaining – and most meaningful – sports events is ready to be served up this weekend on the immaculate tennis courts of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The 5th Annual Charity Cayman Classic, scheduled for December 7-9, promises to bring another impressive group of pro players together with passionate amateurs for a heady dose of fun and competition.

Although it’s always fun and action-packed, the event’s real power comes from its ambitious mission. The target for funds raised each year is the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, a local shelter for domestic abuse victims and the payoff has been consistently huge. The fact is, local woman in desperate need, experiencing disruption and terror, have been better served by our society thanks in part to this sports event.

Michael Ryan, developer of The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and sponsor of the annual event for the past five years, takes a hands-on approach to the special weekend. He usually plays and plays well, teaming up with a visiting pro in doubles and playing his heart out. After the final point is scored, however, he is no less enthusiastic about handing the money raised over to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Understandably so, as few causes are as easy to get behind as a shelter for abused and threatened women in the Cayman Islands. Although it is blatantly unjust that a woman should have to leave her home and seek shelter due to a violent or threatening partner, the reality is that there is need for such a sanctuary. Those who might consider supporting the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre via the Cayman Classic or otherwise should know that this is more than four walls and a roof. This is a movement, dedicated to empowering women as well as protecting them.

In addition to 24 hour, seven days a week access for up to 18 women (and their children) in need, the shelter provides access to the following: risk assessment, case management, iIndividual and group counselling, support groups, referral services, legal advice, legal aid, social services, family support unit, employment services, substance abuse services, transitional assistance, parenting education, and workshops on healthy lifestyles.

Support the Cayman Classic. Day passes cost as little as US$20. The two-day Gold Package, which includes all-access passes to the tennis tournament, single or couples tickets to Friday Night Whites Beach Party and Saturday’s Cayman Classic Tennis Ball, start at US$750 per person. The VIP Weekend Package, starting at US$3,500 per person, also includes three nights of oceanfront deluxe accommodations at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Silver Rain Spa treatments.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call (345) 946-3804, ext. 267 or visit www.caymanclassic.com.