As an emphysema victim, Phyllis Lockwood has seen the constant activity of her former years grind to a near halt. The respiratory disease has seen to that. But even though her activities became greatly limited, it does nothing to tarnish her sparkling sports career of over thirty-five years, which earned the long-time Boulder resident a place among the 1977 inductees to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
“My induction into the Hall of Fame was a big surprise, but a most pleasant one,” she says. “I am always amazed when I am rewarded for doing something I love doing.”
Often heralded as the greatest woman athlete in Colorado history, Mrs. Lockwood was a standout performer in tennis, basketball, track and field, swimming and softball before her competitive career ended in 1970.
A Fort Morgan native, Phyllis Whitely married her high school sweetheart, Francis Lockwood. They lived two years in Denver before moving to Boulder in 1936. Their two daughters have presented them with six grandchildren.
With her husband’s backing, Lockwood never found it difficult to combine raising a family and athletics, as her achievements show:
- A self-taught tennis player, she went eleven years without a loss, winning almost every Colorado championship and no fewer than seven Intermountain crowns. She held the singles title continuously until 1941, when she retired and returned to win again in 1946.
- A star performer for the Denver Dry Goods and Viner Chevrolet AAU basketball teams; she was also a constant competitor in the National AAU basketball tournament in St. Joseph, Missouri, during her eighteen-year cage career. She was named to the All-American team in 1949.
- She won the National Free Throw Championship in conjunction with the AAU nationals by hitting forty-seven of fifty free throws.
- She was a member of the first U.S. women’s all-star basketball team to travel abroad, touring six South American countries in 1950. In 1953, she was honored as the state’s top female athlete by the Helms Foundation.
The achievements and gratitudes of her tennis pupils are the greatest rewards, however. Lockwood has, without pay, tutored beginner and champion alike through the years.
In 1967 a sanctioned U.S.T.A. junior tournament was named after Lockwood. “The awards that speak to me the most of any they’ve given me are the ones they give in my name for outstanding sportsmanship. It’s just a little medal they give in Boulder and in Denver, but it has meaning behind it. Anyone can win a trophy, but to have an award given in your name is even more meaningful,” she notes.
Lockwood has a room full of trophies and awards; however, she feels one should never view a trophy or award as an article of superiority, but rather one with substance. “In seeing it, memories flood the mind concerning the many circumstances that transpired to merit the award.”
I am always amazed when I am rewarded for doing something I love doing.