Les Grandes Dames, Palm Beach Gardens

January 28 - February 1, 2020. Palm Beach Gardens, Super Cat II

Click here for results

By Pam Simons


Many of you have read the recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled  “Beating Old Age in Straight Sets”. It is amusing. The author has no answer to why he, at 79, can play better tennis than he did at 50. He wonders whether his tolerance for a high level of activity is what keeps him going. (He plays tennis four times a week, jogs a mile three times a week and walks for 25 minutes every day. He folk dances.) “I am wired to be on the move,” he almost shrugs.


Well, that ain’t news to the ladies of the NSWTA.  When we compete in a tournament, we usually play twice a day for almost a week.  To prepare, we play tennis regularly and go to the gym and some even tap dance. Talk to Rita Price, Irene Bretzel, Jane Lutz, and other 80 and 90-year old women about their being wired to be on the move. This is what defeats Old Age.


Just as relevant to us is another article he wrote for the WSJ in 2015 about loving competition: “In deriving great pleasure from playing a sport, I apparently am in the minority.” Richard D. Mandell writes in “Sport: A Cultural History” that “the capacity for pleasure in athletic competition might be confined to no more than ten percent of any population.”


Ten percent? Really? Then aren’t we the lucky ones! If truth be told, even if we whine about our playing abilities at a tennis tournament, win or lose WE LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. The thrill of competing, the whack of the ball hit well, and the stamina required for three full sets make for a healthy love. We would probably be taking meds if we didn’t compete. Or arguing with our significant other.


For me personally, having just completed the tournament called Les Grandes Dames Palm Beach Gardens, I can affirm that while not everything that week was to my liking (lefty Carol Clay’s spin; Judy Dixon’s unerring forehand; Sue Bramlette’s mobility), it sure felt good to compete.