It’s ‘Match Point’ For Tennis Club at Local Retirement Community | Arts & Culture
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A tennis ball being hit makes a unique sound, and that sound gets the blood stirring and makes the body want to move, at least for tennis lovers -- and especially for members of the resident-run tennis club at Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring. The club invites teams from neighboring retirement communities to participate in the annual Riderwood Invitational Tournament. The tournament will be held September 16 and residents are already preparing for it.
Riderwood is intriguing in that it has its own tennis courts on its campus. The tennis club meets on both courts four times a week during the season (April–November), hitting balls and sharing laughs. “We’re a friendly group playing a friendly sport,” said Pat Bursley. And tennis club members all agree that the lifelong game of tennis not only helps keep them looking young but feeling young as well.
Eva Hickman first picked up a racket in Sri Lanka when she was just a child. Since tennis courts weren’t free in her country, she practiced hitting balls against the wall and dreamed of playing in Wimbledon. When she moved to the United States in 1958, she started playing in groups and tournaments and racked up 62 trophies.
“I’ve met so many great people while playing,” Hickman said. “I look forward to my time on the courts.”
Zenaida and Ken Mah moved to Riderwood mostly because of the tennis courts. Their love of the game runs so deep that they even chose their apartment home because of its proximity to the courts. Ken has never taken a formal lesson, though he’s been playing for nearly 80 years.
“It’s such a convenient sport,” Zenaida said. “In one hour you have all the exercise you need, and it’s fun!”
“I play tennis because it keeps me alive,” King Zee said. Before moving to Riderwood seven years ago, Zee’s health faltered, but now he said, “I can run and play and have a good time.” The self-proclaimed beginner said he feels like he’s in the best health of his life -- all because of tennis.
Bob Davis has been passionate about tennis since he was six years old. His dream at that tender age was to build his own clay court, a dream he realized at his former house. Now, he brings Master Pro expertise to his neighbors at Riderwood by offering not only the professional ball machine but also his coaching skills for free. “Sports bring people together, and tennis is a sport you can play your entire life,” he said.
“Tennis is not only good for socialization, it gets you out. It gets you moving. It’s good for body and soul,” Bursley said. The tennis club is always looking for new players to share the courts. Every skill level is welcomed—from novice to pro—and because of the tennis mixers, everyone gets in a shot or two.
“Here, everybody is patient, so no matter how bad you flub a shot, you don’t get booed off the courts,” he said, laughing.