This 88 year old could probably beat you

Ivar Liepins playing tennis
Ivar Liepins takes to the court at Leaside Tennis Club

Leasider Ivar Liepins is 88 and can do something many of his younger friends cannot – play tennis for two hours without difficulty, thanks to excellent reflexes and limberness.

Which is what he does twice a week at the seniors’ round robin social at Trace Manes Park, because, as the sports world says, “tennis is the game for a lifetime”.

Liepins plays with 15 others in the group, the youngest a relative youngster of 55, and he is still able to give them a run for their money.

“Many of the others,” says Pat Hynes, Trace Manes’ court supervisor, “are also doing something that a lot of their friends can’t do. It also provides them with exercise, a chance to meet socially with other members and a friendly competitive opportunity that boosts self-esteem.”

You could say that Liepins has tennis in the blood. “Both my parents played in Europe and I started lessons at age eight,” Liepins says of his early interest in the sport. “Soon came the Soviet occupation and no more tennis after that. We emigrated to Canada, and 18 years later I started again from scratch.

“Singles allows me to give vent to my competitive spirit, but doubles are more forgiving at my age: I can easily play for two hours while enjoying the experience of different partners with their strengths and weaknesses. There is a nice camaraderie in our clubhouse, and I always go home after a morning’s play feeling good. Tennis keeps me young, hones my reflexes, and helps me keep my weight in check…. It is truly a game for all ages.”

Another player in her 80s is Rosemary Elmer of Hanna Rd. who has been a Leasider for more than 50 years. She plays Tuesdays and Thursday mornings to keep active physically and socially.

“I started playing tennis when I was 11 years old in England, and when I came to Canada 60 years ago I joined Victoria College Tennis Club to meet and make friends, one of whom I married!”

Would that be 30-love?

About Ken Mallett 17 Articles
Ken Mallett has spent his entire working career of 30 + years as a newspaper reporter and television news writer/producer. He worked for ten years as a foreign correspondent in London England for the Sydney (Australia) Morning herald and Toronto Star before moving into television news as a writer/producer for the CBC and later Director of News and Current Affairs for Global Television. He is a regular contributor to Leaside Life.