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Column: The atrophy of age

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opinion Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

There is no trophy in atrophy and it was proven on the tennis courts of New York Mills last Saturday.

Kudos to Head Coach Gary Bach, his tennis team and the volunteers and fans, who came out to watch the second annual Mills Open "Celebrity" Tennis Classic.

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The NY Mills Lady Eagles Tennis team is donating $100 to Wadena-Deer Creek Athletics from fund raising at the tournament.

A portion of those funds came directly out of my pocket, as I stuffed rice krispie bars, hot dogs, waters and pops down my cakehole in an effort to force my body to keep moving after the first match.

It had been three years since my racquets had come out of the closet. I, literally, had to wipe the dust off of them, which was more than I could say for the dust on my knees, ankles and legs.

For a portion of the time, it almost appeared that I could still play. Then the pain of age and a life of lethargy struck.

Coach Bach paced between matches outside the fence doing peanut gallery play-by-play at the tournament.

"What college did you play tennis at, Bob?" he bellowed.

"The St. Cloud State Intramural chain smokers league," I was forced to answer. It was either that or California Penal, but the "Major League" movie quote may have been lost on tennis fans.

So, short on breath and fighting the body's need to nap, my partner Nikki and I cruised through the competition until the lengthy wait of the consolation matches.

It was 40-some degrees out. You know what happens to strained middle-aged muscles in that kind of weather.

After 45 minutes on the bench, I could barely traverse four rows of bleachers, let alone trot around on the court.

Youth flashes before your eyes in these situations. I could feel the younger me inside who could leap at service tosses and run down drop shots and defensive lobs.

But it was middle-aged me on the court.

I could not even get my carcass off the ground. My body refused to leap. It was all I could do to end points as quickly as possible, whether hitting winning volleys or just chunking one in the net just to end the point.

There was no sadness as partner Nikki and I saw the last forehand go into the net for our second place finish. It wasn't about the place. It was about being finished.

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Perham Focus (218) 346-5901 customer support
Robert is the Sports Editor of Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Williams worked prior in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 
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