Losing a Friend

Me, Jack L, and Dean
Me, Jack L, and Dean
We all have gone through it. And as we age, it will only happen more often. But that doesn’t stop the heartache of losing a good friend.

This past week (Monday, March 9th), we lost our tennis buddy Dean Bacon to kidney failure at the solid age of 85. Dean was an Ohio native who attended Ohio State and played varsity tennis for Bowling Green. His sweet strokes never left him, as he played a good game up until last year.

The memorial service will be tomorrow at the United Church of Christ at 10 am.

The Pelican Bay Tournament

I am on record as “really disliking” the short format that is frequently necessary in weekend tournaments. And this weekend is the Pelican Bay singles tournament, with six players in the Open Division, using that format.

Yesterday, they broke the six of us into two flights of three players, with Rich Tarantino, Jack Moter and me in one; and we were to play NINE games against each opponent to determine the total-game winner of each flight to play the finals today.

In a one-hour struggle with the challenging Rich Tarantino (a great retriever), I was able to come away with a 6-3 victory. The trouble was that Jack Moter beat him in another one-hour struggle by a whopping 8-1.

So when I took the court to play Jack, I knew that even if I beat him 5-4, I would lose on total games! As it turned out, Jack broke me at 4-4 to seal his legitimate victory.

So today, he plays in the finals vs. Canadian Jack Moore, who easily won the other flight, with no real competition. And after that match, Bob Wilkie and I will defend our Pelican Bay doubles title vs. Steve Morris and Mike Ruffolo (which is why I wasn’t unhappy losing the Saturday singles).

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

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5 thoughts on “Losing a Friend

  1. I am sorry for your loss and yes each year fewer of us left. A longtime tennis buddy and I remarked how we go to more funerals than weddings.
    I just don’t play an event if it’s going an abbreviated format. I only play REAL tennis.

    Ron – i think i will follow your example on the second point you make. george

  2. Yesterday, I too lost a good tennis friend. Dan Miller was 98. He was from Cleveland, but traveled the world in his later years playing tennis tournaments. He won his first Gold ball at the age of 75 and added 33 more and 16 Silvers before he retired from competitive tennis at the age of 92. He was my inspiration that it is still possible and you should never quit trying.

    Walt – guys like that keep us all going! tks, george

  3. Hey George……………enjoy you are playing and being ever so competitive……………..

    Howie – is true,,, especially in light of the story above. tks, george

  4. Played a 65+ tournament match against a nice gentleman that I had played twice before and had lost both times. He is a certified pro who volunteers as a wheelchair instructor even buying 2 chairs to allow people with limited resources to try the sport. His best weapons have been his hustle and stamina as he is not a big guy. Yesterday he seemed sluggish and winded after long points. He took a lot of extra time between points. I actually got annoyed and thought of complaining. I’m glad I didn’t because after the match he told me that the previous week he had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and likely had less than a year left and that one lung was 1/2 filled with fluid. He said his wife had convinced him to try playing and he had really enjoyed the match. I hope I see him back on the court soon as surgery and other treatments may help if it’s low stage. Glad I didn’t jump to the wrong conclusion.

    Paul – I had a similar experience… my business and tennis partner died of cancer October of 1988. he and i were playing a high level league dubs match just a few months before that, when our opponents complained (not knowing the situation) that he was taking too long on the change over. i told them that he had to clean out his chemo port in his chest to continue! and they stopped complaining. George

  5. Another tennis inspiration is Roger Gentilhomme. My wife and I met Roger at the Senior Games in Palo Alto in 2009. We watched him play a 94 year old on the center courts at Stanford. Later that evening, I took a picture of my wife with Roger and the medal he was presented at the Senior Games award ceremony. Roger gives his secret for living to an old age in an interview from those games shown in the link below:

    An ABC news report on Roger is shown in this link.

    Roger passed away at 102 only a couple of months from attending the next Senior games in Houston in 2011.

    Ron – another example of an amazing tennis life! thanks. george

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