Dressed to the Nines near Ninety

sharlee and paula mangin tennis - Version 2

Last week I returned home from my second year at ILT Tennis Camp in Mexico. My body is tanned and swollen and sore and covered in insect bites. My brain is full of Continental Grips and drop shots and overhead smashes and when, how and why to use each.

My heart? It’s happy and hopeful.

To wit: In my group was Sharlee, posing with me in the photo at left and in the yellow sweater below. At 86 and twice widowed, she came to “camp” with her current boyfriend, whom she met playing tennis at her local club. Sharlee showed up every morning dressed to the nines in ninety-degree weather, and showed us up with her killer backhand slice that left us licking our wounds. Post lesson, while us “youngsters (anyone under sixty!) slithered off to nap by the pool, Sharlee and her ilk hit PV for Margaritas and Mole.

ILT tennis camp mexico paula mangin

Point being, I bitch and moan about being middle-aged in the land of millennials, yet here were these awesome octogenarians not giving two shits and partying like it’s 1999. They were more interesting, active and alive than most people fifty years younger.

They’d all worked hard and worked hard at staying healthy, and were now busy reaping the rewards. They were passionate about so much. On this particular trip, one of those passions was tennis.

I came home feeling such relief: relieved that I have passions that can carry me into the future, and relieved that I have friends and family whom I love and can share them with. I also came home excited for passions that don’t exist yet, but will someday. It all became not so much about getting older, but more about getting to do fun stuff all of the time.

I relayed all of this to my husband when I got home. “When I met you”, he reminded me, “You crowed of a senior life spent tooling around your tropical assisted living facility in a Hoveround with a cocktail in the cupholder.”

As I swallowed that crow, I countered, “well, I’ve changed my mind.”

I want to be like Sharlee when I grow up. I want to bagel a team of today’s millennials-turned-middle-aged. I want to be passionate, happy and healthy, tennis racquet in one hand, tequila shot in the other. I want to be dressed to the nines.



In case you’re curious about my tennis attire:

  • My sneakers are the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour in “hot lava” and can be found here. I love the bright pink/orangy color and gold swoosh combination. They require zero break-in and are comfortable as hell.
  • I live in visors because sunglasses get in my way. I also happen to love camouflage; I search for camo visors on ebay and buy most of mine for under ten bucks. If you have a favorite color or pattern, type that into ebay to personalize your look. Much cheaper and more interesting than sports-branded alternatives.
  • Having said that, I do love Nike’s tennis tanks, especially the Nike Advantage court found here; for a skosh more room, I’m a fan of the Nike Tennis Strappy, which you can buy here. They cling less than the Advantage; they are my “I’m bloated” tennis clothes.
  • My bag is a no longer available Jeremy Scott for Adidas “Seasack” bag. I didn’t even know what a “seasack” was until just now as I researched my bag. Turns out it’s a shape and type of bag with a drawstring at the top and an overall gelcap Tylenol shape, more or less. I’m assuming they are used at sea. I found a great site, Sea Bags of Maine, who makes bags out of recycled sails. I love this bright green bag shown below; it’s lightweight and easily holds a racquet and shoes and whatever else you want to carry. For $25!

Spinnaker sea bag, bright green




3 Responses

    1. Paula

      Hey! My finger grazed “publish” while I was in the middle of writing the post! I just finished, should be okay, can you let me know? Yes, hit Dover yesterday, scored Rick Owens OTK low boots and Robert Clergerie platform slides, heavily marked down. Being shipped to save space and tax. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. Would love to meet you! Coffee tomorrow?

  1. aratner@nyc.rr.com'

    I have tentative plans to meet a friend tmw at DSM. We always sit at Rose’s & chat. So I may be able to but I can let you know tmw morning. You have my email so email me your phone # & I can either text or call you. Sorry it will be so last minute. Sounds like you did very well there. They have good sales. Sometimes we just hang out there & breathe in the air there 😊

Leave a Reply