Bitsy Grant Tennis Center owes much to our volunteers. From time to time, this blog will feature people whose hard work makes Bitsy a great place to play.
Beverley Shields grew up playing on grass and hard courts in her native New Zealand. It wasn’t until 1966, though, ten years after she moved to Atlanta with her husband Jack, that she began playing tennis at Bitsy Grant.
From the beginning, she was a doubles player. She played on a Women’s ALTA Double A team as well as a USTA 4.5 team long chaired by Louise Pawlik. She played doubles with the likes of Harry Thompson in the Saks-Kodal tournament and Julie Wreg, and has taken home city championships and national titles.
She is the consummate team captain, and an excellent doubles partner in mixed and women’s matches, pairing successfully with many partners.”
Beverley’s love of tennis and her indomitable character make her a true example of the Bitsy spirit. She has served on committees and kept the history of the players alive in scrapbooks housed in the clubhouse. She’s had rehab on her shoulder but she feels great. Two years ago she had her second hip replaced, and asked “Why would I get it done, if I didn’t want to play again?”
She counts winning the Double AA national championship as her most memorable tennis event. Her team had flown to Dallas to face off again seasoned players – “peroxided blondes,” she says – whom they’d come to know through other national tournaments.
She and her partner, former Friends of Bitsy Grant Board member Mary Ann Hart (below), were playing #2. All 5 teams were on the court at once, but after some time, it grew quiet. Beverley realized they were the only team still playing, and knew then that the match – the championship – rested on their win.
They batted the ball back and forth, deuce, ad, deuce, until finally their opponents hit one down the middle. Beverley’s team returned it…and it didn’t come back. Beverley said that in the aftermath Mary Ann was so excited, she picked up Beverley with a racket in between them, and almost cracked her ribs.
I’m so glad you are featuring Beverley – she truly has Bitsy in her heart, and has done so much. Anytime I called her to help on the grounds work day, she was there, hot or cold weather, and very meticulous in her work. She was captain of our Bitsy Grant ALTA team for at least 10 seasons – and an excellent one at that!”
-Mary Ann Hart
Beverley can be found on the courts three times a week, and at many Bitsy events. If you haven’t met her, please say “Hi,” and get to know her – like us, you’ll be glad you did!