Heart and Soul - Georgia Billger, 77, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Georgia Billger has a competitive heart. This is evident by watching the senior athlete’s passion on the pickleball court, and from a history of participating in multiple sports going back to her high school and college days in Pennsylvania. At one point, she was the seventh-ranked tennis player in the mid-Atlantic states and selected as a member of the Junior Wightman Cup team, the women’s counterpart to the Junior Davis Cup.
Talking to other athletes, it’s clear she also has a caring heart. “Georgia is one of the most giving and gifted women I know,” says Susan Brooker, the pickleball coordinator for the Delaware Senior Olympics who often plays her. “She truly believes in giving back, in other words, paying it forward long before the saying ever came into being.” Georgia helped start a local pickleball club, and then served as a coordinator for three years after the Delaware state games added it to their sport offerings. Many of the 300+ pickleballers now participating were recruited and coached by her. In her ongoing medal march, she has traveled to other states to help others qualify for the National Senior Games in doubles play.
Georgia also has a strong heart, notwithstanding a family history of heart disease and a close call that resulted in a quadruple bypass at the age of 70. As the following conversation relates, her overall excellent physical health fooled the doctors at first, and helped her rehab and get back on the court. She was also sidelined for abdominal surgery three years later. Once again, her active body helped her bounce back to continue to play and to encourage others to get moving to enjoy better quality of life.
Because of her positive example while pursuing excellence, the Delaware Senior Olympics presented Georgia Billger with its Charlie Marten Memorial Award in 2013, an honor bestowed on athletes who persevere, pursue a healthy lifestyle and provide an inspiration to others. That sounds an awful lot like the criteria used for our own Personal Best recognition program, and prompted us to share her story beyond “The First State.” Read on to learn more about her passion for sports, and how she has passed that passion on to her family and others.
Read the complete article on the NSGA website...