AUGUST 5, 2013 [OVERLAND PARK, KS]—By age 85, they should be well into their golden years, enjoying grandchildren and basking in the afterglow of life. Instead, nearly 50 women ages 65 and older will converge upon Overland Park this month to compete in a six-day, national indoor tennis tournament—the biggest of its kind.
Arriving from as far away as Hood River, Oregon and Lake Placid, New York, they’ll compete in the United States Tennis Association’s National Women’s 65, 75 and 85 Indoor Championships at Midtown Athletic Club on August 12-18.
Local competitors who will vie for the USTA’s coveted Gold Ball award, reserved for ages 65 and above, include Beverly Cain (Overland Park), Bonnie Shade (Roeland Park), Vicky Vise (Lenexa), and Deborah Weixeldorfer (Belton, MO).
“They’ll all be here for the love of the game,” said Midtown Tennis Director Dave Gary, who oversees the Category 1 USTA tournament. They’re like rock stars and enjoy a unique sisterhood that comes with traveling, dining and competing together on the senior tournament circuit.
This year’s oldest players: Californians Elaine Mason, 89 and Catherine Hill, 88. The two will partner in the 85+ doubles division.
“It’s pretty inspiring to watch these senior ladies play,” Gary says. “I can’t even imagine being able to compete at that age; that is what amazes me so much about this group.”
Its Midtown Athletic Club’s 33rd year of hosting this USTA tournament, considered the nation’s highest-level tournament for senior women. The USTA Missouri Valley will honor the group with a wine-and-cheese party on Aug. 13. Midtown will host three luncheons during the week-long competition, including a catered banquet.
Demonstrating that one is never too old—or young—to play competitively, Midtown will match the senior players with juniors in a special 10-and-Under clinic August 12.
“We did this clinic for the first time last year and the response from the dozen or so seniors who participated was overwhelming,” said Gary. “It’s really one of the highlights of the week for these ladies.”
“These ladies love our hospitality, and appreciate all the effort that goes into this tournament,” said Midtown General Manager Brad Houx. “To be honest, all of our team members get a special feeling by ensuring that everyone feels right at home.”