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"Nieces and Nets" August 2015 Athlete of the Month

Vickie Campbell, 62, Hillsboro, Missouri

Volleyball players, like those of any team sport, speak about the way their teams become like family. For Vickie Campbell of Hillsboro, Missouri, this took on a literal meaning when she fulfilled a dream to play in the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana with her two nieces. However, the desire to accomplish this was based on more than a whim.

"My sister-in-law Reda Pogue was who got me playing in leagues in St. Louis," the 62-year-old captain of the 55+ Cardnets explains. "When she started playing in Senior Games 20 years ago, I told her I was going to stay with it to play in those games too. Then I told her daughters, who also love volleyball, that one day we would all play together in the National Senior Games. I have a close relationship with them and we all wanted to do it."

When Pogue died in early 2014, Vickie was even more inspired to continue playing volleyball and to bring her nieces to Minnesota. One, 55-year-old Linda Ehlmann, had joined with Vickie to play in the 2013 Games in Cleveland. The other, 57-year-old Kathy Barr, lives in South Carolina, so it took some effort to put the pieces together.

Even after qualifying, the dream was threatened with two major obstacles thrown in Vickie's path. "In February I hyper extended my knee and tore a hamstring. I had to do some pretty hard rehabbing to get back in shape," she recalls. "Then, my house burned down in April. So with everything that happened, I was even more ready to have a little fun. And it was awesome!"

While the 2015 Cardnets-which also included Janis Keys, Susan Stahr, Diane Crews, Catherine Landwehr and Linda Kernen-fell just short of the medal stand with a 4th place finish, spirits were not dampened. "We just fell apart when we got into the bronze division playoff. Linda Kernen, who is best in the middle for us, needed gall bladder surgery before the Games and couldn't go," Vickie notes. "We like winning, of course, but our main reward is the time we spend together. It's like a reunion, and we meet new friends too. We look forward so much to this. I'll also say the team has given me so much support. I could have easily given up during these troubles without their constant encouragement.

"This is my third National Senior Games, and I'll keep going as long as I can. You betcha!"

Rochester, Michigan
The Games Daily - July 16, 2015
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