Kirkland’s Tennis Outreach Programs (TOPs) serves more than 8,000 students each year. Courtesy photo

Kirkland’s Tennis Outreach Programs (TOPs) serves more than 8,000 students each year. Courtesy photo

Eastside Tennis Center and Tennis Outreach Programs to host annual auction

Jim Baugh will serve as headline speaker.

Tennis Industry Association Hall of Fame member Jim Baugh feels that if people are between the ages of 5 and 95, the sport of tennis is at their fingertips.

“You get a great workout and you’re using your mind,” said Baugh, adding that the tennis mentality of thinking about one’s opponent, partner or next shot helps people stay young and alert as well.

At age 69, Baugh still plays a little bit of tennis and works out every day, either with a personal trainer, on his bike or on the golf course.

“I get my best trains of thought after I’ve done a workout,” said Baugh, who is involved with the national charity PHIT America.

Baugh will travel from his home of Jupiter, Florida to be the headline speaker at the Kirkland-based Eastside Tennis Center and Tennis Outreach Programs (TOPs) eighth annual benefit auction at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Seattle Redmond Marriott. The event will feature a TOPspin auction, a live band, a special performance from TOPs students and more.

Launched by Marceil Whitney in 2002, the nonprofit TOPs serves more than 8,000 students — ages 3-18 — each year during classes in adaptive tennis, wheelchair tennis, wake-up tennis for elementary school children, Boys and Girls Club programs and parks and recreation classes. More than 2,000 students received financial assistance in 2018 and there was free equipment available for families in need.

“It’s been an outstanding resource for the community to have people have a program like this, and the success, it just speaks for itself,” said TOPs general manager Marsh Riggs, noting that $50,000 a year goes toward scholarships and programs. “There’s such a great need for the programs. As much as we do, we could twice as much more. That’s why it’s so important that this auction succeeds.” Riggs added that they have raised between $100,000-$150,000 at the auctions each year.

Baugh got on board with TOPs through Riggs, a longtime friend he met through being involved in the tennis industry.

“We’ve got to do a lot better job of getting kids moving and getting them off the couch, getting them off their electronic devices and getting them active and playing sports,” Baugh said of one of his speaking points at the auction.

Riggs, 60, plays tennis five days a week and enjoys the game more than ever.

“Still living the dream. Started as a young kid taking up tennis and then it’s just carried me everywhere all over the country. I’ve met all kinds of interesting people,” he said.

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