Posted by: Ken Wheatley | September 22, 2010

Promise Kept – Sheila Ann Wheatley Tennis Classic

Sorry to those who have been eagerly awaiting the report (based on your gently nudging emails) of how the event went on Saturday. I crashed hard on Saturday night. I think the stress of putting it all together finally caught-up to me. And then there was tying up the loose end, notifying the raffle winners, etc. Plus my real job!

In a nutshell….it was awesome!!!! I’m so happy that, with the participation of the 100 players, I was able to fulfill my promise to Sheila that we’d have this event to raise awareness about lung cancer and funds for the Lung Cancer Alliance.

An ankle injury sidelined a player a day earlier, but we had no (serious) injuries on the day of the event. We even had people show up – dressed and ready to play – who hadn’t registered but were hoping for no-shows or injuries (joking, a bit on that last one) so they could play.

The marine layer burned off by 10am and it was a beautiful day with an ocean breeze. The La Costa Resort and Spa is a beautiful property and many of the players were thrilled to get a chance to play on their world-class courts. (The Mercury Insurance Open, formerly the Acura Tennis Classic, was played there recently)

I’ll provide more details in a few days about how much was raised for the Lung Cancer Alliance, who won what, and any other important things I can think of.

But I certainly want, and need, to thank the volunteers who busted their chops on Saturday: Sandra, Joni, Steve, Kim, Maria, Judy, Jan, Jerry, Mary E, Monica, Corinne, Alma, and Kimber. So many people commented on how great the volunteers were, and how professionally run the event was, and I owe a debt of gratitude to them for “branding” the Sheila Ann Wheatley Tennis Classic with a stamp of excellence. Nice way to start off a tradition.

Of special note was the surprise visits from Mike, Al, and Dawn.

Al and I worked together for many years and have kept in touch since he retired about 8 years ago. He and Dawn live in San Antonio and they had come out for the wedding and decided to fly out for the tennis event and spend the full day with us.

Mike is a friend and colleague. He’s a retired Secret Service guy and also a Chief Security Officer. He’s the one that I talked about at Sheila’s funeral (Mike’s wife, Laura, flew out for our wedding and sadly, for Sheila’s funeral) about being in the “Super Bowl Stadium” with me after others had left. So, true to his word, he surprised me by flying in from Utah for the event.

On Sunday, Sandra and I cooked an early dinner for Dawn, Al, and Mike.

I also appreciate that Sheila’s niece, Stephanie, flew in from Colorado to play doubles with her mom, Karen. I didn’t find out until much later that Karen was slightly injured during one of the rounds but refused to stop playing because she wanted to be there for Sheila.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Matthew Hall at the San Diego Union Tribune. There’s no question that his coverage of the event drove a lot of the awareness, and sign-ups. So thanks, Matt, for the tremendous support. Sheila would have been so pleased with the outcome.

Stay tuned for more info on the final parts of this event, and for my comments about the future.



  1. I would not have spent that day doing anything else. It was such a wonderful day, tournament, and honor. It all came together so well and it showed! Big props and congrats. Sending my love and thanks for such an amazing day.

  2. i felt proud and joyous on that day, ken. the players were absolutely fantastic and had such positive energy and great personalities…………your other volunteers were even better…i felt blessed to spend that day for more than the obvious reasons.
    cant wait to hear the details.

  3. What was great is that you and your mom were there to participate in the event for Sheila. What a special recognition of your love and admiration for her. So thanks for flying out to be there for her. And me.


  4. Thanks for contributing to the day, Mo. You’re a good friend to Sheila, well beyond her earthly life.

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