Still swinging: senior tennis players live life in motion

Published 4:49 pm Monday, August 5, 2013

Elly Leary, Patricia Kasamatsu (Plante’s daughter), Mary Ann Plante and Ellen Goodman after an afternoon game of tennis. (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer)

Elly Leary, Patricia Kasamatsu (Plante’s daughter), Mary Ann Plante and Ellen Goodman after an afternoon game of tennis. (photo by Kirk Gollwitzer)

Mary Ann Plante understands Newton’s First Law of Motion, which states that a body at rest will remain at rest; but a body in motion is the life she prefers to lead.

At 80 years old, Plante, along with her tennis partner and longtime friend Ellen Goodman, 67, have devoted their lives to the fast motion sport.

Plante is a current clay court-indoor champion and has been selected to travel to Austria in September to compete against 12 other nations. Goodman, who keeps a home on Lake Lanier, will remain stateside during the Austrian competition, but is ranked sixth in the U.S. in her singles division and proudly adds that last week she beat the second and fifth seated competitors in the entire country.

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The two live near Tryon half of the year and the other half in Winter Park, Fla. where Goodman works as an instructor and runs a tennis clinic for women. Both Plante and Goodman devote their lives to tennis and especially the Les Grande Dames International Senior Women’s Tennis Circuit, a competition for some of the country’s best women players.

“My last partner was 97 years old when she retired from tennis and was one of the best in the world,” Plante said.

Plante and Goodman together founded Les Grande Dames in 1976 when Plante was 45 years old.

“I wanted to create a viable circuit for women to encourage them to continue to play tennis as long as they possibly can and compete for prize money, which would offset their expenses,” Plante said.

Today, Les Grande Dames sees as many as 175 women a year, ranging from age 30 to 95. The senior athletes compete for prize money in Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Winter Park and Tampa, Fla. Plante says the competition provides an opportunity for past competitors to remain in the game for the rest of their lives.

“It’s an opportunity to compete and stay fit,” said Plante. 

About Kirk Gollwitzer

Kirk Gollwitzer is a freelance writer frequently writing articles for Google News Service, and other media organizations. After a successful career in software development, Kirk found his true passion telling a story through writing, photography and video. He is constantly projecting people, products and ideas into the national media. Kirk has a passion for music and major interest in people. He is also writing a novel which will be adapted to a screenplay.

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