When I was ready to sign up for this year's Malibu Triathlon, I was shocked to learn that the event had become sold out within a couple of days. To me at 22 1/2 miles it was an ideal distance, but more significantly it had become a benchmark. I could readily compare results from my previous races and see how I was doing with my anti-aging efforts.
Although I usually exercise every day, it's all too easy to get complacent on a hike or bike without competition. For years I had played tennis at least once a week with steady partners, until they moved away. Lately I've been getting back into the game, losing all too often as I tried in vain to shake off the rust.
Then a funny thing happened during the June Friday Night Social mixed doubles event at the Santa Monica Tennis Club. Through the luck of the draw I got paired with two very good partners, Laurie Drake and Mary Mathews, along with two other players. Over the course of 3 hours, a couple of dozen men and women played 36 games in a rotating format. Laurie and Mary took first and second place among women. I took third in the men's division. Winning is encouraging.
I'm now making a more concerted effort to keep playing weekly. This coming week, I have 4 hours of tennis scheduled, with another 4 the following week, both doubles and singles. The high point is playing for the first time in the Santa Monica Tennis Club’s 84th Annual Anniversary Tournament. To stay competitive I have to do more than simply play. I've got to build up my muscles and aerobic capacity.
At the age of 57, I realize that I'm never going to be great at the game, but it is a lot of fun and certainly beats sitting around zoning out in front of a television when it comes to recreation. For me playing tennis goes back to one of the most important points made about exercise in the anti-aging documentary Reverse Aging Now: find exercise you enjoy and nobody has to force you to do it.