Missouri Valley / Iowa

Cownie Takes Home USTA Missouri Valley Sportsmanship Award

Andrea Gallagher | April 20, 2021


Des Moines resident Christy Cownie recently received a USTA Missouri Valley Adult League sportsmanship award nomination from fellow USTA Iowa league player Sarah Zinn-Burggraaf. Cownie was selected as the winner of the award for the month of March.



Christy first started playing tennis around the age of ten at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines, where she was taught by coach Bunny Bruning, whom she still plays with today. She is humbled by this accolade.



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“Being nominated for the sportsmanship award was a huge surprise,” she said. “I am grateful and appreciative, especially because the honor comes from people other than my teammates.  I love cheering the opponents’ good shots.  I love good competition, friendly competition.  It makes everyone better.”




Cownie said her favorite part about tennis is laughing and having a good time on the court, and having some competition as well, but all in good fun. She has participated in several USTA Iowa leagues, including 18 & over as well as 40 & over leagues. 




“I really try to make people feel comfortable on the tennis court,” she explained. “Adult players can take their tennis so seriously, and I respect that, but I hope to remind people it’s fun too.  If USTA tennis is the most stressful part of your life, you need to realize how incredibly fortunate you are.”




Cownie stays busy as a mom to a 14-year-old and twin 10-year-olds. She hopes to demonstrate her good sportsmanship to them by her actions on and off the tennis court.



“I tell them when I’m nervous about a match. I tell them when I lose. The next day, when they see me getting ready for a clinic, they know I’m willing to accept mistakes and keep trying.  I also hope seeing me play encourages them to push their comfort zones a little.”



Christy received a USTA swag box for her award nomination. Congratulations to her!


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