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Missouri Valley / Missouri

Gold Star Winner Anne Vogel Grows Local Leagues

Jeff Kessinger | July 13, 2020

You could hear the smile in Anne Vogel’s voice. A relative latecomer to tennis, she has earned a Gold Star award from USTA Missouri Valley.

 

In honor of its 100th anniversary this year, USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 deserving tennis providers, players, partners and more throughout the section. These Gold Star awards recognize contributions to support and grow the game in USTA Missouri Valley.

 

“She has captained and played for decades,” USTA Missouri Valley Adult Leagues Manager Alyssa Stelmach said. “She has been an integral piece in keeping USTA Missouri leagues going.”

 

Vogel may not have developed an interest in tennis if it weren’t for her children. Now it’s hard for her to be on the sidelines.

 

“While in my early 40s my then-seventh grader began playing at Twin Oaks Country Club (in Springfield),” Vogel said. “Sitting there through her lessons with pro Clint Wade made me crazy to get out there, too. And, well, the rest is history.”

 

That was 30 years ago. When Vogel retired from fulltime work as a medical administrator, she never looked back.

 

“The local country clubs and community tennis organizations enjoyed guest days and intra-club activities, but it wasn’t until the Springfield-Greene County Park Board opened a new indoor facility that USTA began to take off.”

 

That wouldn’t have happened without leaders like Vogel. In 2006 she put together a Twin Oaks 3.5 USTA women’s team.

 

“It was fun. Great fun,” she said. “Many of us have advanced through the different age groups and some have moved on to 4.0. Just this year I handed off the 3.5, 40-plus baton off, but I maintain the 55-plus 7.0 and the 65-plus 7.0 teams.”

 

Just because it was fun doesn’t mean it was always easy. Vogel said she learned they had to work hard to grow 2.5 and 3.0 players for the league.

 

“They didn’t just miraculously appear,” Vogel said. “Everyone has the desire to win and should be given that opportunity, thus I championed the drive to create three such 3.0, 18-plus teams. Being a non-playing captain in this group is very hard. I want to be on the court, too!”

 

Vogel has made countless memories in her time as a captain and organizer, but it’s hard to beat that 2006 season.

 

“I am so proud of the teams that have grown out of that 2006 endeavor,” she said. “Although my teams have remained somewhat constant all these years, some players have been encouraged to move on to create new teams. The hardest part was seeing them disappointed and afraid they couldn’t recruit good players. But by working together, successful teams have continued to form and be highly successful.”

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, interfered with Vogel’s 2020 season. On the plus side, she enjoyed checking out instructional videos, audience participation formats like Zoom and other ways the tennis community has adapted to keep enthusiasm alive. Now, with restrictions lifting, she’s eager to get back on the court.

 

“Like all things in life, this will become a memory that forever changes the faces of our world,” Vogel said. “What I have noticed most is that, while quarantined, many sat more, ate more, and now that play has begun our bodies are having to adjust. And, oh, those 2020 team uniforms and other new tennis clothes and shoes that I so wanted to wear, they are now finally making their debut. Life is good, tennis is life!”

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