When it comes to trying new things in life, it’s common to be scared about taking the leap of faith. Specifically, with tennis, no one wants to be humiliated and Maggie Lochas recalls just how scary starting the sport was.
“My earliest tennis memory was my first tennis lesson. I was so worried I would embarrass myself that I scheduled the lesson for 1 PM, so that no one else would be out on the court and see me.”
Despite never picking up a racket before her first tennis lesson, Lochas was determined to persevere in the sport. Since then, she has found her passion for the game and volunteers in Pensacola.
Starting as a USTA Captain, Lochas made an impact on Escambia County. So much so that in 2021, Megan Frederick, the Local Play Coordinator in her community, made her an Ambassador for the Love to Learn and Play programs.
“Maggie has been the absolute best USTA league volunteer, captain and tennis ambassador in the Escambia County area,” Frederick said. “She rearranged her work schedule so she could be at every Learn to Love and Play sessions for multiple groups.”
When her first program finished, most of Lochas’ players went on to join the Quads program, and she helped create two teams in 2.5 Men’s and Women’s leagues from the pool of participants. Her men’s players even refer to her tips and tricks as “Maggie-isms.”
“If you had asked me 18 months ago if I thought being an ambassador for a group of complete beginners would be something I would enjoy, I would have to tell you probably not so much,” Lochas reflected. “However, Megan Frederick has made the Learn to Love and Play experience for both the players and the ambassadors so much fun.”
Even when Lochas isn’t helping players on the court, she is still aiding her local program. She volunteers for a local charity tournament, which benefits the Pensacola Sports Association and ARC Gateway.
Lochas also spends her time planning the next mixer. From the food and decorations to the players and costumes, she loves to prepare for the big events, and nothing she does it taken for granted.
“We are lucky to have her and appreciate all that she does for the Pensacola tennis community,” Frederick said.
For Lochas, it’s not about being the best, but making everyone around her feel comfortable. “I remember what it was like being the newbie on the court and I remember how much I appreciated the positive feedback from the more experienced players,” Lochas recalled. “I just really love helping others enjoy the game of tennis.”
USTA Florida thanks and congratulates Maggie Lochas as the USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month for March 2022 as a team captain organizing tennis and promoting fitness among the community in Escambia County.
Birthplace: Pace, Fla.
Family Members: My parents Ellen and Chris, and my sister Anna
Favorite Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Favorite Food: Soft pretzel with cheese
Favorite Travel Spot: New Orleans
Favorite Shot: Down the line backhand
My earliest tennis memory was… “My first tennis lesson. I was so worried I would embarrass myself that I scheduled the lesson for 1pm so that no one else would be out on the court and see me.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be… “I would have to say Roger Scott Pros: Brock Sakey and Patrick Bateman against myself and Nadal. Of course, with Brian Sakey overseeing the match.”
When I’m not playing tennis I am… “Planning the next tennis mixer… The food, the decoration, the players, the costumes… I absolutely love it.”
My best tennis memory is… “The first season my ladies league team won our flight. We were all so new to tennis our first season, we were pretty terrible. Actually, winning for the first time was like being on Cloud 9. We are now entering our 20th season and I still love my team and love celebrating our wins together.”
I like to volunteer in tennis because… “I enjoy being able to help new players by giving them some tips and tricks, which my Love to Play men commonly refer to as Maggie-isms… I just really love helping others enjoy the game of tennis.”
Interested in volunteering in tennis? Visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteers to learn more about available opportunities.