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It’s a perfect match at Oak Crest

Oak Crest tennis players discover the game gets sweeter with age

Created date

September 21st, 2010

Evelyn Schroedl refuses to act her age. When the 92-year-old resident of Oak Crest is not dancing the tango, she s out on the tennis courts delivering a swing that would give most 20-something s a run for their money. [caption id="attachment_14552" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Members of the Oak Crest Tennis Team play three times a week, year-round, as long as the courts are dry and the temperatures are above freezing. (Photo by Elizabeth Janney)"][/caption] Every time I m out on the court, I enjoy myself, says Schroedl. It s a wonderful sport you can play practically your whole life. Schroedl, who took her first tennis lesson after she retired, now plays with the Towson Parks and Recreation Women s Tennis League, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), and the Oak Crest Tennis Club. On the Oak Crest team it s mostly men, but I don t mind; I enjoy playing with the men because they go after everything, jokes Schroedl. This September, Schroedl, along with three members from the Oak Crest Tennis Team competed in an annual tennis match against rivals from their sister communities, Riderwood, Greenspring, and Ashby Ponds. Even though we didn t win, we had a great time, says Schroedl. We had people there to cheer us on and afterward enjoyed a nice lunch. I actually ended up competing against a woman I knew from Goucher College who I hadn t seen in years. It turns out she is now living at Ashby Ponds and plays tennis there. That was really a nice surprise. Andrew Lioi heads the eight-member Oak Crest team, now entering its second year. Prior to moving to Oak Crest, I played at the Towson YMCA for 30 years, says Lioi. After I moved I spread the word to see if there were any tennis players here in the community. In no time at all the Oak Crest league formed, made up of men and women in their 70s and 80s. The club plays year-round on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at the tennis courts at nearby Fox Hall Apartments down the street from Oak Crest. [caption id="attachment_14538" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Oak Crest s Tennis Team competes against sister campuses Riderwood, Greenspring, and Ashby Ponds. (Photo by Elizabeth Janney)"][/caption] As long as the temperature is above 30 degrees and the courts are free of snow, ice, or rain, we re out there, says Lioi.

Right state of mind

Ardent tennis player Martha Clasby isn t yet a member of theOak CrestTennis Club simply because there s just not enough time in the day! The 70-year-old former co-captain of Baltimore County s over-50 Senior League, who led the team to the USTA s national championship in San Diego in 2002, plays up to five times a week on three separate leagues, takes lessons two days a week, and plays socially. Clasby says she loves the intellectual aspect of tennis as much as the physical challenge. Being smart about the game makes a big difference in how you play, she says. My background was analytical chemistry so I love to take things apart in my mind and put them together again. Watching your opponents and testing them is a big part of winning the game. You hit to their forehand. You hit to their backhand. You put one up over their head and see how good they are. Then you focus in on their weakness. If you let yourself get nervous and start feeling negative, you ll go to pieces. Living in Brookline, Mass., Clasby was just nine when she started playing tennis. There were tennis courts in our neighborhood, she says. The kids across the street took lessons and asked me to play with them and that s how I learned. Clasby recalls being invited to attend tennis matches at Longwood Cricket Club in nearby Chestnut Hill with those same friends and their families. At the time Rod Laver and some of the other now well-known tennis players were starting out there, she says. I wasn t really old enough to appreciate what it was. All I knew was everybody wore white, treated each other politely, and during the match we had to be very quiet and would only clap at the end. As an adult Clasby played on and off throughout the years while raising two sons. But it wasn t until she moved toOak Cresteight years ago that she began taking lessons and playing competitively. I started meeting people, and they introduced me to the U.S. Tennis Association, she says.

Level playing field

To keep up with players one third her age, Clasby follows a regular fitness routine, including working out with kettle bells and Indian clubs. To play well you really have to be able to run and cover the court, says Clasby. Most of the people I m playing with are in their 20s, so I ve got to be in the best shape I can be. Recently Clasby traveled to Salisbury University on the Eastern Shore for the USTA 60 and up sectionals play-off with a team known as the Super Seniors. But she says don t let the name of the team fool you. People look at me and say you re so calm and easy going, but when we watch you on the tennis court you re so aggressive, it s like you re a different person, says Clasby. I tell them, I save it up for the game.