Captain Connie Bennett Talks Winning Outstanding League Contributor Award, Nationals
I recently caught up with Connie Bennett, the 2022 USTA Heart of America Outstanding League Contributor and captain of many USTA league teams–including her 65+ team heading to Nationals next week–to learn about her reaction to her award, her future tennis plans, and her advice to new league players. Read on to learn more!
“When I found out I would be receiving an award for Outstanding League Contributor I was completely surprised and overwhelmed, to say the least. I certainly wasn't expecting it and didn't even realize I was being considered! I felt so honored to be recognized by this organization that has given me so much. Everytime I look at the beautiful trophy I received I feel extremely proud.
“I actually received this same award from USTA Heart of America in 2008! At that time, I was a 3.0 player and the leagues were very small. I was a player and captain of one 18+ and one Senior team (I think it was 50+ at that time). Both my teams won their leagues and the 18+ actually went to Nationals the first year we played! If I recall correctly, there were only one or two teams in each league at the time, which shows you just how much USTA tennis has grown in our district. All of this growth can be attributed to the hard work people like Terry Miller and Hellen Elliott, along with others, have done.
As for her future tennis plans, Connie remains committed to playing the sport she loves. “I hope to stay involved as long as my health and energy will allow! However, I am considering the possibility of having a co-captain to help me out. I am now captaining a Monday/Sunday and Wednesday 18+ summer league, a Monday/Sunday 40+ league, and a 55+ and 65+ league team. My plate is very full!
“My 65+ team will be playing at Nationals this coming weekend and we are all very excited to be going. This will be my fourth time--the first year I played USTA, my 3.0 team won and went to Tucson, and a couple of years later, my 50+ team went to Mobile, AL. In 2022, my 55+ team went to Orlando! Unfortunately none of these teams came close to making it to the quarterfinals, so I am hoping this will be our year. However, I am grateful to have gone three times already and to be going one more time.
When asked for her advice for tennis players considering USTA league play, Connie serves up some amazing advice:
“I would tell anyone who plays tennis to join the USTA, where they can meet other tennis players and enjoy sharing in all the activities that the USTA offers. I would also tell them that they don't need to be a great player to contribute, and that there is no mandatory retirement age when it comes to USTA tennis.
“Tennis is the one sport that you can play your entire life or, I should say, as long as your body will allow. And even when you're unable to play competitive tennis, you can still be a contributor in so many different ways. I am certainly proof of that.”