SOMERS, N.Y. - There isn’t much that can keep Herman Slotoroff off the tennis court.
The Somers resident proved that two decades ago when he was back to practicing his serve at Armonk Tennis just a month after undergoing risky heart surgery. He said that experience is what gave him the idea to start the By-Pass-Open tennis tournament, a round-robin doubles event now sponsored each year by the American Heart Association.
“I want to encourage people who have had serious surgery or heart problems not to sit in a dark room and forget about life—start participating in it," Slotoroff said.
The 19th annual By-Pass-Open will be held on May 21 at Armonk Tennis Club. Participants are asked to enlist friends and family to sponsor them for at least $100 each to benefit medical research. In the past 18 years the event has raised close to $400,000.
The founder of the By-Pass Open said his greatest reward cannot be measured in dollar amounts, though. It’s the satisfaction of seeing his participants getting active and having fun, he said.
“I love seeing the smiles on all of their faces," he said. "They are truly living.”
Through the years, the By-Pass-Open has garnered support from community members and local businesses alike, with prizes donated by Aquario’s in White Plains and Kisco Seafood in Mt. Kisco. Breakfast and lunch will also be served by local restaurants including Tazza and Country Kitchen in Armonk.
Word of the event has even spread across the country. People have entered from as far as Washington, New Orleans and San Francisco, said Slotoroff.
“Our motto for the event is: life is a participating activity and not a spectator’s sport,” he said.
For more information on this year's By-Pass-Open at Armonk Tennis Club, check out the event's website.