Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
– Mark Twain

You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.
– Maurice Chevalier

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing
your enthusiasm.
–Aldous Huxley

One of the most persistent – and irritating – concepts that permeates our society is that your life is basically over by the time you hit 65.

The fun is over. Just give up the ghost and move on.

Much of the younger generation thinks older people just sit on the couch watching Jimmy Stewart movies and musing, “What a wonderful life I’ve had” as they wither away and wait to die.

Bullsnarf and nonsense.

The people I know say, “What a wonderful life I’m having” and get out to play.

That’s right – play. They suck the marrow out of life, every day.

How, the discerning reader might ask?

Let’s talk tennis first.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s 40 degrees or 90 degrees plus, the seniors I play with (men and women) are out on the court playing some serious tennis.

Come on, some people will ask, how good could the tennis be at that age?

Well, let me point out a critical fact. Most of these fine folks have been playing tennis for over 50 years. Trust me, they know how to move and hit. They understand the geometry of tennis to the point of genius. Angles, spins, lobs, volleys – you better be prepared to see un poquito de todo. For all you non-Texans, that’s “a little bit of everything” and it can be humbling!

It’s not just the privilege of playing with such seniors that is meaningful for me (and I consider it an honor to be counted in their number), but it is their honesty, humility and love for life that washes over me like a cool summer breeze, refreshing and invigorating.

I feel truly alive.

You cannot stop these seniors – men and women – it doesn’t matter about accidents, surgeries, cancer treatments, or any physical ailment they have endured. They are out there giving all they have. They will never willingly surrender. Bastogne and nuts.

How about baseball?

I am not talking softball. I am talking baseball. Cleats, wood bats, fast balls and hard-working umpires.

I play with a truly exceptional and extraordinary group of men, many of whom are age 65 and over. They are just like the tennis players – they don’t reflect on the great life they have had, but on the great life they are having. Despite age and some physical infirmities, they are out there competing, playing hard, succeeding in a very difficult and demanding sport – and all the while loving life and the beauty of being alive.

The pleasure of seeing the happiness in their faces as the game unfolds cannot be explained in mere words – but you can feel the vital energy coursing throughout the dugout.

My tennis and baseball friends do not see age as a problem, but as a challenge, and with a warrior’s attitude they figure out ways to fight through the challenge and succeed.

More importantly, they understand that implicitly at our age it is still important to win – we all want to win – but it is much more important to remember that, “Playing is Winning.”

The courageous and outrageous act of just being out on the court or on the ball field is a victory, a win – a slap in the face to age and death. “I defy you,” is the attitude and I will continue to enjoy my life.

To all the people I play with, and to all the people I compete against, bless you for allowing me to share time and space and the pleasure of playing with and against you.

May we face each other for many, many, years to come.

Oh, and a special shout out to JY for the epic battles we have been fighting for some of those many years…

Plus, a nod of the head for JF for being a great old friend, with no pun intended.

And to MS, who makes me think, and laugh – and sometimes shake my head.

And to EW, RV, DD, PW, DP, MS, KH, BM and so many more that my cortex needs a rest… or maybe a cold brew!

  1. I have “known” you for years. You and John battling it out in singles on the court that has been co-opted by pickleball.
    Now that you are playing doubles with us old guys, I have gotten to KNOW you ! Your sense of humor and boundless energy is refreshing and welcome. Hope to have you as an opponent/partner soon.

  2. David, what a wonderful essay. It really reminds me of how blessed I am to get to play tennis with you and the others. I am sometimes disappointed in my play, but I am never disappointed in the fun and laughter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>