Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 1999

DEBBIE MUSTIAN / L’Observateur / September 28, 1999

Getting older isn’t all that bad. It isn’t all that good, either, but it isn’t all thatbad. Like anything else, it has its advantages and disadvantages. A majordisadvantage, I believe, is that you can’t do all the things you use to do or you can’t do them as well. The trick though, I think, is to just keep trying to do themto the extent you can.

Take my tennis game, for instance. Many years and two broken ankles later, themost recent this year, I keep playing. Maybe l don’t win as much, but I can be agood battering partner for some of the younger and more improved players.

Mainly, though, I love the game, always have, and would rather play tennis than do anything else.

However, when you are being pushed by younger, better players, in order to be able to just “hang” with them, you have to improve your game. That’s why eachweek I insist on frustrating Belle Terre tennis pro, Mike Bryan, while taking a lesson. He believes I would do better if I listened to him more instead of talkingso much. I don’t know when I’ll stop talking, and though it probably won’t beanytime soon, still, I continue to take lessons.

A week ago, Mike got players of all levels together at Belle Terre for a fun night and of course I had to be there. We played a “round robin” of doubles. Mikemarked our hands with a number and that determined who our partners would be.

I got lucky, because my partners turned out to be male, strong – and young.

Ken Massett was my first partner and he could really put the ball away. I playednext with Matt Lawless, whose wife, Hazel, was a participant. Matt wasaggressive and covered the entire court in a flash, which made it easier for me.

We did quite well. Then I had Keith Gilles for a partner who is twice as tall and50 times more powerful than I am. I could make pretty good shots when I wasn’tlaughing so much. His strokes almost demolished the tennis ball and created alot of winners for us, but his comments to me were so very comical.

Mike and Sheryl Schoen, Karen and Charlie McGaff, Johnell and Dale McClain, Annie and Herb Stell and Bridget and Terry Montz were among the husband and wife players, although, probably fortunately, not paired with each other. CindyGilles, Karen Landeche, Barbara Roussel and Sheri Montz were out there, too, and Carol Vicknair had a chance to play against her husband, Nolan, and beat him in a tie breaker. During a time out, Jane Roussel asked me if I had any formaltraining in writing, and of course, I had not, so thank you if you haven’t noticed.

Bobby Aucoin and Pecka Weber were spectator husbands to wives Nancy and Jo Ann who couldn’t get enough tennis and were still playing when I left at 11:30 p.m.Meg Spatz, who has started up a USTA (United States Tennis Association) team, took time out to join the group but Dawna Sobel, still out with an injury, had to content herself watching Joe, who was playing with much gusto! Michelle Bryan, who had probably made the food arrangements, took time to play but pro husband Mike had to play with only one hand because his opposition took no chances.

It was all friends, players and right at home. It was wholesome. It was greatfun!

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