Definitely more to the Toowong Tennis Old Dogs


Cora Ho and Old Dogs Walter Sommer, Milton Newstead, and Rob Gilbert with Barry behind the camera.

When I took over the management of this Tennis Group, it was my goal to make the group stand for more than just tennis. This can be seen by reading some of the earlier blogs on the website, such as:

· 10 Brain Rules for Aging Well (4th December 2018)

· Toowong Tennis Old Dogs are Smart (13th December 2018)

· Toowong Tennis Old Dogs is more than just exercise. (25th January 2019)

· Importance of Staying Socially Connected for Toowong Tennis Old Dogs. (December 2019)

Take another read and you will find that the emphasis is on the importance of socialisation and health and well being, particularly to our mental state.


One thing is for certain that as we get older there can be tendencies where one can start to think that life is behind us and nothing new is in front of us. That does not need to be the case, we can think of it as just another stage of our life, not the last stage. What makes matters worse is that we have things that come up in our lives that may be a major setback in thinking positive. It is true that nearly all of us have some big mountains to climb in our lives, but our strength will be in having family and friends beside us to help pull us over the summit. I have always hoped and have found by my own experience that our group has been a source of new friendships which would have not occurred if it were not for me joining the tennis group. Friendships as we know have to be worked at and as in my life where business took over my life for over 40 years and allowed for little time to foster those friendships but now I have another opportunity to meet people and develop potential good supportive friendships.


The website has been very instrumental in bringing in new memberships to the group. But even better it has brought those younger players as well as now female players who enjoy the style of tennis that the group offers but also the camaraderie and friendship. I have had it said to me, why do I have to expand the operation? It means more work and effort to bring it all together each week, considering from where we were requiring 12 players on Mondays to now where we require 36 players on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. My response is easy, I like to help those new members who are so enthusiastic about joining the group. The satisfaction for me is to see the important contribution that the new members have made. How wonderful to see the new members, some half our normal member’s age, and yet think nothing about the age disparity. They have made us feel so good by accepting us and more importantly improved our standard of tennis. So, thank you Mark Cronin, Tecwyn Griffiths, Juan Eyzaguirre and Leo Yu. I cannot forget the first message from Leo (in his early 20’s) to me, who said “I often walk past the courts on Monday and seeing your group playing and the hairs on the back of my neck raise, you seem to be having such great fun, and I want to be a part.”


Our latest addition to the group has been the women players, the other reason I wanted to write this blog. Again, they came from the website initially, and asked would we accept women into the group. Why not? We have now had a few weeks of some very enjoyable tennis, but this week bought some bad news which as a group I want to respond to. The first news was that Sue Lettmann was playing tennis with another group on Monday and had a fall and broke both her wrists, the left one badly. It looks like my own operation after we compared Xrays, the plate and 11 or so screws. Well, I got back on the court and have not looked back, and I am sure Sue will also. Sue we must give a big thank you to as she has introduced a number of other players, two other ladies Kay Gurnley and Gill Mercer and one guy, Brian May who has shown so comfortably that even in his 70’s he can take the game up to the young guns.


But the news was from Cora Ho this week that really made me think of how important our group can be to others. She has missed the last couple of weeks, thinking she was away on holidays. But her email to me explained, “I came to Brisbane to be with my son, but it turned out that the Angel had guided me here for other reason. I have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and had my first chemo 2 weeks ago! The week following the chemo was tough with various side effects, fortunately that had subsided and I am feeling quite good! I have been doing lots of reading of real live stories of how exercise can benefit mental and physical health of cancer patients, and actually reduces side effects. One story in particular, this lady keeps playing tennis in between treatments. in addition to the health benefit, it also gives her a great sense of living a "normal" life while having cancer treatment.

To be able to have a game now and then in between treatments will definitely give me a sense of normality.”


So, after receiving this email on Wednesday morning, she was on the court Wednesday afternoon and took my place to play two sets with a break in between. She played well and felt good. She is a good player and can take the game up to the guys, so I am hoping I can find her a spot this Monday and definitely on Wednesday. Her next treatment is on this coming Thursday. So I hope everyone can see that the group has an important function other than just tennis. I think we have wasted enough time this year with these unforeseeable Covid times and that we should be thinking about our next Social Event. I will be sending something out soon.


My last point to make is the importance of the Website. It is only as important as the amount it is used. We have private membership where all members can post articles in the Members Forum for themselves (easy to do) and it stays within the membership. It is important to use it as communication is the important medium for the socialisation. If you do not know how, just ask.

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