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When Pigs Fly...

Mascot of the Middle States Women's Team
Middle States Women's team

By Sue Levine, USTA.com

Indian Wells, Calif. - “When pigs fly” is the timeline some people use to let you know when to expect the impossible to happen. But for the Smart Aces it’s both a motto and a mascot. The team out of Chester County, PA, represented the Middle States Section in the 3.5 Senior USTA League National Championship for the first time. Team captain Sherry Adams says “these pigs are flying”.

There are no superstars in this team. They met on the tennis courts and, over the past 20 years, they have become good friends with a lot in common. Most are blondes, although one team member is still working on that. And they’re all proud to still be married to, as they put it, their “first husbands”.

Another thing they have in common is the inspiration for forming their team. At

one time or another, each woman was coached by Leslie Pixley. They couldn’t pass up this chance to join the Smart Aces and have Leslie coach them again. Sherry says Leslie inspires them to try harder to get those pigs airborne.

Leslie couldn’t be in Indian Wells to see her players hit the court for their first Nationals, because she is competing herself this weekend, at the 4.5 Senior National Championships in Tucson. But the team did have its winged pig mascot on hand.

The pig got involved when Sherry was shopping around for something that would inspire the team. Then she saw a little pig with wings. It reminded her of a comment she overheard someone make, about how the women on her team looked like “a bunch of country club snobs”. Sherry bought the pig.

At the next team meeting, Sherry pulled out the pig and told the players “it’s time to take off the white gloves and drop the country club attitude”. She told them they needed to get down in the mud and roll around with the competition. She said “I want you to be piggy about all the points, all the games, all the sets, all the matches. Whoever is the ‘piggy-est” wins this pig”.

It worked. The winged pigs flew the team all the way to the National Championships. The Smart Aces didn’t walk off with the big prize, and as she heads home today, Sherry says she’s not so sure about “pig power” anymore, but still believes in the Smart Aces.

As for the little pig with wings, Sherry says it will be back next season. But he may have to bring a friend.

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