It was May of 2011 and Annie Hays had just completed her freshman season at Edmond North High School. Steve Porter asked Annie if she would be willing to take some kids out after church and teach them to play tennis. That was the first outing of what would become known one day as The BCC Tennis Academy. Everyone had a great time and so they went again and again.
Tennis is a great sport. So many of our kids at the BCC Tennis Academy are learning how to work hard, how to push themselves, and how to strive to always improve their “game” on the court and off. Tennis is much, much more than working for the perfect forehand or backhand, tennis is also about relationships. Let me tell you a great story.
Annie didn’t come from a “tennis family.” As a little kid she played basketball and softball until her softball team was invited to play tennis each Friday afternoon throughout the summer by Tommy English, the former Head Pro at The Greens Country Club. At the end of the summer Tommy invited Annie to keep playing at The Greens. It didn’t take Annie long to fall in love with tennis. About one year later she made the decision to only play tennis.
The more Annie played the more she began to travel to tournaments all across the Missouri Valley and eventually the nation. She met girls from other cities who became warm-up partners, doubles partners, teammates on All-Star teams, and friends. Then, following her Freshman year in high school she met Rob Braver, who played at the University of Oklahoma. Rob introduced Annie to his daughter, Jessica, who also played tennis at the University of Oklahoma. Jessica has been a gift from God to Annie. She has been a big sister, hitting partner, counselor, and friend. Jessica heard from Annie about the kids at Britton Christian Church playing tennis and jumped right in, eventually becoming the Executive Director of the BCC Tennis Academy.
When it was time for Annie to graduate from high school in 2014, she had to make a choice as to which school she would choose to continue her tennis career. She decided to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis. At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Annie met a young man named Nils Mueggenburg from Hamburg, Germany who was playing on the men’s tennis team. The “courtship” began. God used a tennis racquet to bring a young man from Hamburg, Germany and a young girl from Edmond, OK. together at UMSL. Annie and Nils would soon learn that it was a perfect “match.” Love blossomed on the court for Annie and Nils and the two of them were married on June 8, 2019 in Bend, Oregon.
It was such a blessing to have Nils and Annie Mueggenburg travel from Bend to Oklahoma City to spend the last day of the BCC Tennis Camp with all of the coaches and kids. Now that’s a honeymoon that only tennis players can appreciate! Annie was able to see kids that she has encouraged, coached, and inspired for the past seven years. She was also able to see how an invitation by Steve Porter to take a few kids out to play tennis has grown into something more than special for so many kids in Oklahoma City.
Tennis is a wonderful sport, one of the few lifetime sports, but the relationships that are forged and fostered on the court are much more meaningful and important than any point, match, or championship anybody has ever won. I will guarantee you that if you were to ask Annie, “What’s the greatest blessing that has come into your life because you played tennis?” She wouldn’t tell you about winning trophies, coming back from a set down to win the match, clinching the win for her team, or going to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Division II Championships her senior year at UMSL. She would tell you about the relationships she’s made because of tennis through the years. I’m certain she’d end her story by telling you about the most important of those relationships…how she met her doubles partner for life, Nils. Congrats on your marriage Nils and Annie! The kids and coaches of the BCC Tennis Academy are so happy for you!