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Shots at a healthy future

Sports: Two members of the Old Newhall Tennis Club recently celebrated their birthday with 30 other

Posted: January 2, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: January 2, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Ed Jace, 90, and Thor Jorgensen, 88, regularly play tennis together. They recently celebrated their birthdays with the Newhall Tennis Club.

 


The dual birthday celebration at Valencia Glen Park on Dec. 27 for Ed Jace, 90, and Thor Jorgensen, 88, was quite a racket.

That’s because guests were largely comprised of members from the Old Newhall Tennis Club. Approximately 30 members surrounded Jace and Jorgenson as they cut into a tennis-themed cake after a vigorous game on the court.

“These guys are great,” Jace said, grinning as he received handshakes and pats on the back.

“We all just get along,” Jorgensen said. “It’s nice to play and nice to win, when you can.”

Relatives were also in attendance. JoAnne Jace watched the proceedings with a big smile.

“After dad retired, this gave him something to do,” she said. “He’s busy, active and social here. He loves it. He loves his tennis.”

Since 1949, the Old Newhall Tennis Club has been open to Santa Clarita Valley residents of all ages and genders. For the most part, however, members tend to be on the senior side.

Jim Brush, of Valencia, joined the club in 1975, but started playing regularly after a bout with melanoma five years ago.

“It was a physical activity I could get back into,” he said.

The Old Newhall Tennis Club meets five times a week at 8 a.m. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, it’s at Valencia Glen Park’s courts. On Saturdays and Sundays, it’s at Hart Park.

Joining is easy, according to Brush.

“Just drop in,” he said.

That’s what Jace did 20 years ago, when he relocated from Chicago to the Santa Clarita Valley in order to be closer to his sons. 

He’d started playing tennis in the 1970s, after winning a racket at a church charity function.

“I seldom miss a day playing here. In Chicago, it was touch and go because of the weather,” Jace said. “The city is nice to us, to let us play here. It’s like a country club.”

Jace, a Valencia resident and retired heating and air conditioning contractor, credited the sport for keeping him healthy.

“I’m here today because of tennis. I just had prostate surgery and didn’t think I’d be here, but here I am,” he said. “I rarely go on vacations anymore. I just come here. The camaraderie is great.”

Originally from Norway, Jorgenson, who now lives in Valencia, has been in the game for 40 years and with the club for three.

“It’s kind of a nice outdoor sport and didn’t require much, just a few balls,” he said. “It’s easy to go to a court and play.”

At a lean 152 pounds, Jorgenson, a former osteopath, said tennis is a great way to keep seniors fit and bones strong.

“It’s good to be on your feet. You just have to move,” Jorgensen said. “You have to exercise, otherwise you just go downhill.”

John Doty listened to the elder members with interest. His father, Gene Doty, was the club’s founder, but doesn’t play anymore.

“I’ve known some of these guys since I was 12 or 13. They’re wise and fun. It’s an inspiration for me to keep playing tennis,” he said. “There’s doctors, lawyers, philanthropists, a lot of wonderful people here. Just the best of the best.”

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