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Late bloomers from the Middle States

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October 22, 2016 12:48 PM

By Cory Kamerschak, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, ARIZ. – It’s never too late to try something new in life, and one of the men’s team representing the Middle States section at the USTA League Adult 55 & Over 6.0 National Championships is a shining example of that. Six of the eight players on the team have been playing tennis for five years or less.

The coach of the team, Bill Baumer, has only been playing for six years and specifically looks for guys who don’t have a lot experience.

“I try to bring in some guys who have never played before, maybe one or two seasons,” Baumer said. “We like to win, but we have a lot of fun, too.”

That mentality seems to work pretty well for this team from Lancaster, Pa., because Baumer’s squads have been to the National Championships for the last five years in a row.

“It’s good to get some of the guys some experience who have never been to Nationals before,” Baumer said.

One of the men on the team, Dan Reece, has only been playing tennis for three years and originally got into the sport because his wife had started playing.  This is his first trip to the National Championships and echoed his coach’s thoughts.

“Just to play with this group of guys is a lot of fun,” Reece said. “They take the game seriously, but they also know how to have fun so it’s just a pleasure.”

Reece’s doubles partner, Dudley Rowe, has only been playing for five years but is enjoying his fourth trip to the National Championships. He enjoys how the tennis community comes together from all over every year for this tournament.

“What I’ve found is that the people you are playing against are just really good people,” Rowe said. “They’re all in it for the same reasons that we are.”

When asked why he thinks his teams have so much success despite not having very much experience, Baumer says it has a lot to do with their work ethic.

“It’s about hard work, determination and never ever giving up,” Baumer said.

 

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