For nearly 40 years, my mom has enjoyed her Tuesday Tennis Club.
Save for a brave sub or two, she has been, through all these years, its only female member. She is also the shortest, oldest and feistiest.
Her secret weapon is consistency, and, at 76-years old, she still covers the court maddeningly well, returning shots with an unorthodox backhand she taught herself on the public courts in Cincinnati.
She’s missed a serve or two in the 64 years she’s played the game, but I’m not sure she’s ever double-faulted.
She expects the same focus from her partners, who rotate through the three sets they play each week.
They chat, laugh, commiserate and advise each other…between sets. They’ve seen each other through weddings and funerals, military service, births, career changes and elections.
The Tuesday Tennis Club formed during my mom’s heyday as a high school tennis coach and its other original member, Frank Mousley, shared her love for the sport. He coached the Xavier girls tennis team, while she coached the boys team.
Twenty-five years ago, their former student John Jorgensen joined them and, shortly after that, Mark Tyczkowski.
That foursome formed the nucleus of the modern day version of the club. They played outdoors throughout the summer, and moved indoors only during seriously inclement weather.
Frank retired to Utah last year, and the club floundered a bit in his absence. But, he came back to visit this week and the four immediately hit the court.
I caught them in action last night and they happily paused for a quick photo or two.
Then, they hustled back to resume play.