USTA Missouri Valley
Annual Fred Johnson
ALL Stars Event
USTA Missouri Valley
“The athletes give so much of themselves"
USTA Missouri Valley Adaptive Tennis supports adaptive tennis programs, providing grant money, equipment and resources for specifically-tailored programs that provide fun, fitness and a positive social experience for participants. The enjoyment, physical well-being and contact shared by participants have proven to be positive sources of self-esteem, helping open doors to a more positive lifestyle.
For the past eight years, the USTA Missouri Valley has hosted its Fred Johnson ALL Stars Event. Nearly 100 adaptive athletes typically participate in the summer event. Teams in the past have from from Omaha, Neb., Lincoln, Neb., Kansas City, Wichita, Kan., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The participants from Omaha, Lincoln and Fremont will be from the local Tennis Buddies programs, which is a partnership of athletes with disabilities and tennis enthusiasts within the community. ADVERTISEMENT A few participants in the ALL Stars event have even had the opportunity to play in the Special Olympics World Games.
The All Stars Event was launched in 2011 by its namesake, Fred Johnson was the USTA Missouri Valley Diversity Manager who formed a steering committee of staff and volunteers to create an annual event that would bring together the USTA Missouri Valley’s top adaptive tennis athletes for a friendly round-robin competition.
Jane Hines of Omaha, Neb., who was on the original event steering committee and is a certified tennis professional, served as the tournament director.
“Our adaptive tennis athletes have very few chances to compete,” Hines said. “The Special Olympics sponsors the state games once a year, and the National Games are every four years. We thought it would be awesome to have an annual Adaptive Tennis Sectional Championships.”
Hines has been involved in the All Stars event since the beginning, and a big reason for that is the joy she gets working with the athletes.
“The athletes give so much of themselves and are so grateful for every opportunity that we give to them,” Hines said. “They so freely share their gratitude, joy and love.”