By Sue Ellen Christian
Twice a week, three octogenarians and one 90-year-old hit the tennis courts for doubles. The Kalamazoo men are Mike Durock, a former baseball player for the Boston Red Sox organization and UpJohn employee, 90; Dan Christian, 85, a retired physician and former WMU tennis team member; Pat Roseboom, 83, a retired General Motors employee who took up the game as a kid; and Warn Courtney, a retired radiologist who won’t give his age but started at age 35. He plays three times a week. “It’s something to do. It’s good fun.”
The four have gathered this way, with summers off, for decades. They come for the exercise, the camaraderie, the laughs, and of course, lunch after at Nina’s Cafe on West Main, where the wait staff knows their orders by heart. It’s a gentleman’s game, with compliments for a shot well placed and concern when one has to step out for a few weeks or months due to do a hip replacement (that was Roseboom, or “Boomer” as he’s called) or a shoulder surgery (Christian), or a knee problem (Durock). In all, though, these hour-long matches are a bright spot for the guys. Christian “has all the shots, he just can’t move,” says Durock. Durock is the fastest on his feet. Boomer has a good lob, and Courtney is a solid all-around player.
“I love the exercise, and the companionship,” said Roseboom.
Christian was 11 when his dad bought him a $1.79 racket. He practiced against the garage door.
“I’m delighted I can still get out here,” he said. “We have a great time.”