Meigs Elevates HOA Senior Tennis
In honor of its 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley will be recognizing 100 deserving tennis providers, players, partners and more across our section throughout the year.
Selected nominees will be given a Gold Star award, recognizing them for the contributions they are making to support and grow the game in the USTA Missouri Valley based on specific program areas and attributes.
One of the award winners from within the USTA Heart of America this August is Barbara Meigs, Chair of the Adult 65 & Over Invitational since its inception five years ago.
“(Getting involved in tennis) is probably one of the more important things that I’ve ever done,” Meigs said. “I started playing in 1986, and it became my true love and made me many friends.”
Barbara’s love for the game flourished, and she became involved with the USTA, starting as a coordinator for the Men’s 3.5 18s and 40s leagues, as well as for the senior leagues. At that time, senior play began at 50 years old.
Five years ago, when the 65 & Over age group was separated into its own league, Meigs, along with Helen Elliott, stepped up to the plate and helped invitational flourish. Nearly 400 players participated last year.
“The first year we didn’t know what to expect, but we had 25 teams sign up,” Meigs said. “Last year it had grown to 39 teams. It’s been a tremendous success and very gratifying.”
Meigs enjoys her involvement with the 65 & Over Invitational because it allows her to show off a side of tennis that does not always get the limelight.
“There’s so much attention to young players, but there are so many of us more mature players out here that love the game,” she said.
The community that Meigs has built through the game of tennis has given her a support system that has helped her through life’s ups and downs. In 2005, she had “the worst year of [her] life.” She fell ill, resulting in three surgeries and chemotherapy.
During the year, three of her teams qualified for sectional tournaments, and two made it to nationals. The community rallied around Barbara and helped her maintain a positive outlook.
“Those ladies took me everywhere, carried my luggage and did everything for me,” she said. “Some of those girls are still on my teams, and they are all still good friends.”
Since then, Meigs has made a full return to tennis. She still plays with five teams in various USTA Leagues, while staying busy with her duties as a 65 & Over Chair.
Because of her work as an invaluable member of the Heart of America community, the USTA Missouri Valley is proud to have Meigs represent the section as a Gold Star Award winner.
“I am so excited to receive this award,” she said. “I see the people that have received it previously, and I know that they have done so much for tennis. I am so pleased to be in that group.”