Sisters are for life and for Edmond identical twins Kim Lewis and Pam McDougal, so is the game of tennis. The two have been playing together for more than 40 years. Lewis said when they first started playing in ninth grade it was great because they always had someone to play with. “We would climb fences and go anywhere we could, just to find a court to play on.”
Both sisters currently compete in the USTA tennis league. Lewis said their OKC/Edmond league results have been very good and it is promising that they will advance to championship play. “We are hoping for the opportunity to play Tulsa’s top team in July for the district championship,” McDougal said. The championship winner in August moves on to play sectionals against the top Missouri Valley teams. The winner advances to nationals in October.
McDougal and Lewis went to nationals in 2008 and 2009. Lewis said it is extremely tough to make it to nationals so it was a dream come true. “It was so fun to meet so many people from all over the United States who love playing the game of tennis,” Lewis says. “After you go to nationals, the following year your team has to split up or sit out for a year. It was an awesome surprise to be able to return to Tucson (Ariz.) for nationals again in 2009, this time with some other wonderful OKC and Tulsa players.”
McDougal said one of her favorite memories of the competition was getting to know other women from across the country. “We also had quite a memorable ‘souvenir’ we brought home from nationals ’09,” she said. “Several of us came down with the swine flu!”
The game of tennis has changed quite a bit since the sisters started playing. Racquets have changed from wooden to steel, then aluminum and now they’re graphite. McDougal said there are no more white tennis balls. “Wow, am I dating myself or what?” she joked. But the sisters’ perspective on the game has also changed. “I have to remember that it’s just a game,” Lewis said. “I keep a little red Hot Wheels car in my tennis bag … reminds me of my 2-year-old grandson … and some Bible verses on cards to remind me of what is really important.” She said she does not ever want her competitive spirit to overshadow her faith in God. McDougal also said her priority is to honor God, first and foremost.
There are other challenging changes for the sisters, such as dealing with an aging body. “I love to compete so Advil and ice are my friends,” McDougal said. “I laugh and call it my therapy. (Competing) is a great workout – keeps me halfway in shape and it’s a great outlet. It has been a great vehicle for developing treasured friendships over the years.”
Another challenge for these tennis twins: mistaken identity. “When my sister moved back to Oklahoma from Texas, she was out to dinner with her husband and some of my friends came up to her a little concerned that I was out with another man. She even showed my friend her driver’s license to verify she wasn’t Kim,” said Lewis.
The twins have a special chemistry on and off the court. “We know each other very well and that makes it fun when we’re playing against each other as we often know what shot the other will make before she hits it,” Lewis said. She also says God has richly blessed her with such an amazing twin sister and is thankful that McDougal and her family moved back to Oklahoma eight years ago.
“Kim and I have shared countless hours on the court together,” McDougal said. “There is no one I sync better with on the court as far as knowing where to go and where she will be as my partner. We are extremely close relationally and can encourage one another as well as hold each other’s attitude accountable in a direct but loving way.”
After more than 40 years, the two have shared many stories together. They hope to get the chance to go to nationals again in October and add another story to their many tennis experiences.