Senior tennis group meets weekly for fun, health
By ANN PARKS
Meet The Legends" of tennis.
This group of about 60 men, some of whom have been playing tennis together for 22 years, range in age from 70-86.
The Legends were started by the late Ray Morris. When Morris retired from Texaco, he began looking for someone his age to play tennis with. He came up with four players, and the group grew from there.
We started out playing at Olde Oaks where we played for some years until it changed management" said Jim Moser, 81, from Cypress. Then they were taken over by someone else who raised the rates so high that we couldn't afford it. So we moved to Wimbledon Tennis Club in Wimbledon Estates in Spring.
We talked to the management and worked a deal with them for non-members. There have been three owners since that time until Sammy Giammalva bought it. Now it's the Giammalva Racquet Club. Sometimes we have as many as 10 or 11 courts filled up."
Giammalva, owner of the club, said its great to have the seniors here.
They're here whether it's pouring down rain, freezing or in the heat of the summer," he said. They're really great guys, and we enjoy them. They give us all a smile."
The only qualifications for being in The Legends:" you have to be a man, you have to be at least 60 years old and you have to love the game.
Rules to live by
Rules? Sure. Not the standard U.S. Tennis Association kind, but there are rules.
Morris drafted the original set, which included: No matter what skill level you play at, no criticizing and no coaching. If you can't say something nice, keep your mouth shut so everybody can enjoy the game. Improper language and racket abuse are not OK. If a player doesn't want to play another set, or not even finish the current set, support his decision with understanding and a smile.
Ron Daresh, 76, from Kingwood, joined the group in 1991.
I play for health reasons, fun and camaraderie," Daresh said. We switch partners every set, so we get to know everyone. You're always playing with somebody different."
Spirit of the sport'
Ed Ross, 80, is one of the original four members of The Legends."
Ross has been playing since 1989. He played for a couple of years and then moved to Lake Conroe. But several years ago, he returned to Spring and has been playing ever since.
Most of us are veterans, Ross said, and we all enjoy the spirit of the sport. It involves camaraderie."
The group plays twice a week, 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Beauty and the Beasts'
Richard Dove, 70, the unofficial organizer of The Legends," said even though there are no women, each quarter they have a Beauty and the Beasts" tournament with all the ladies who play in leagues.
And have several guys who set up a team and play in the USTA Super Seniors," Dove said. You had to be over 70. The only two teams in the area that played were Kingwood and The Legends" from Giammalva. We barely lost out, and Kingwood went on to College Station to play the next level."
Dove said playing tennis keeps them in shape and mentally active.
There are no couch potatoes here," he said.
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