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Mon, May 20

Column: Love of tennis can last a lifetime

Each generation of tennis player seems to have his or her own motivation to play the game.

Players who now begin at age 4-6 do so because their parents or grandparents have taken the time to put them in a tennis program.

Someone has found the merit to exposing them to a form of exercise that will enhance their hand-eye coordination, thinking, listening, and social skills, while learning a game they can play for a lifetime.

If they're lucky, they will form new friendships, take pride in each small accomplishment .

From there it may branch into the phase of playing on a full court with the same rules adults use.

Once they've reached the teenage years, they're probably playing because they've gotten better at it, and like the challenge.

Most teenagers don't think about the exercise aspect, but they can enjoy the competitive physical challenge the sport offers.

During early adulthood, many things are taking place so tennis seems to take a back seat to life.

Then for most, it's about finishing college, getting a job and finding a spouse and starting a family.

When it comes to sports at this time in a person's life, the belief may be while he or she may really enjoy the game, time is at a premium.

They'll get back to it as soon as life slows down.

Those who manage to find time to play enjoy the social outlet and the competitive challenge.

With the kids gone, or almost gone - your physical condition may be on the wane, but a renewed hope of getting back some of your youth and vigor seems inviting and tennis hits your mind again.

You now have more time - and a little more money - and yearn not for the next rung on our career ladder, but to reach the next level in tennis.

A lesson or clinic here or there, mixed in with a league match or tournament and tennis becomes your new life.

Somewhere between here and retirement this funny little game becomes much of your exercise.

It spurs your competitive spirit.

It's addictive.

And into the twilight years, your weekly games are as near and dear to you as life itself.

A hip, knee or rotator surgery may slow you down.

Your eyes are not quite as good, but your wiser in the ways of winning.

You don't take the game quite as seriously, but when you play well, you radiate happiness.

The cycle is now complete.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 35 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-445-1331 or choward4541@q.com

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