Show-Me State Games

“The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I’ll never be as good as a wall,” — Mitch Hedberg.

I read that once and it has stuck with me over the years; a humbling acknowledgement about how my athletic prowess would never be anything used to describe me. I don’t dance like Isadora Duncan either; more like that character (Elaine) on Seinfeld. But I do continue to describe myself as a sports enthusiast. These days I participate more in the “soft adventure” type of athletics.  Golf, walking, hip-hop classes, bicycling, jet skiing, and boating.

Way back in the 1980s I used to play tennis about every day. I played so often I decided to challenge my ability and entered this new activity called the Show-Me State Games. I competed in the adult singles tennis competition. What a humbling experience that was.

This was a new event for our state. There was a lot of enthusiasm for various sporting events, but, not many competing in tennis that first year. I thought that might be to my advantage. At first, it looked like the stars were really aligning for me to win some sort of major sport victory since I had played basketball in high school (beyond the all sports trophy my sorority won in college).

In my first, and it turns out my last match, I was up against a woman from mid-Missouri.  I got clobbered in straight sets by this woman who I imagined to be at least 30 years older than me (about my age now I suppose). She then participated in the swimming competition. I don’t know how she did. I had lowered my racquet and gone back to Kirksville.

Fast forward to this week as the 26th Annual Show-Me STATE GAMES gets underway in Columbia.  The Olympic-style sports festival now boasts more than 40 sports for all ages and ability levels.  The fun begins this Friday, July 16th.

Thousands come together to participate in the Show-Me STATE GAMES each year.  In 2009, 37,400 athletes took part in the GAMES year round, with 25,750 competing in the 25th anniversary GAMES Finals in July and August.  There is still time to make plans to be a participant this year.

No delusions of your athletic talent, but interested in taking in the fun? The Opening Ceremonies will feature a chance for you to dance and sing-along with Candy Coburn, a southern Missouri native who is well known for writing and recording the song “Pink Warrior,” the anthem for the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure.”  This song is a special one to many, even more so for all of us in the MO Division of Tourism as one of our own continues her fight for her cure.

In addition to exciting changes to the Opening Ceremonies, the Show-Me State Games is also introducing a Village in 2010. The Village will provide a festival atmosphere for athletes, their families, coaches and the community during the game’s opening weekend, July 16-17. Modeled after the Olympic Village, the Show-Me STATE GAMES Village will include four main areas – Food Fair, Entertainment Edge, Activity Alley and Mobile Marketing Main Street –designed to provide entertainment, activities, food and fun for all ages.

The Show-Me State Games was established in 1985 as a non-profit program of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Health. Now the largest state games in the nation, the Show-Me State Games is hosted by the University of Missouri. In addition to the summer games, the Show-Me State Games offers events throughout the year to promote health, fitness, family and fun. For a complete schedule of events and more details about the Show-Me State Games, visit or call 573-882-2101.

In the meantime, a word of advice: Never discuss love with a tennis player.  It means nothing to them.

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