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If you make up excuses for not being active or exercising and
want to change those behaviors, then keep reading about Rita Price.
"I told Susie we play at 38 (degrees) and above," Rita calls out to three gals on the court at Gates Tennis Center.
It’s a 42-degree February morning, and Rita had no problem getting some friends together for a chilly game of tennis.
As the doubles game begins, Rita doesn’t shy away from making
comments. Things like: "Oh boy," "She is being kind," and "Oh come on
Darlene give me a good shot, come on kid," can be heard often.
Just about everyone Rita faces can be called "kid." Because, even
though she dances around on the court like a youngster, Rita has been
around a while.
"I play with young ladies (because) I can’t get any older ladies to play. There aren’t that many," explains the grandmother.
This June, the Aurora resident will turn 83. Yes, 83. But obviously age hasn’t deterred her one bit from playing tennis.
And playing it very well.
"In ’07 I was No. 1 in the world," says Rita. "I have seven gold
balls; I’m No. 2 in the U.S. in singles and doubles in the 80′s and No.
3 now in the world in 80′s singles."
And yes, there are many more than three players in her age group.
Rita’s nickname is "Lobber Babe" and it fits her perfect.
"These younger ladies, they get to get the drop shot but sometimes I
get a lob over their heads and they can’t get it," she says with a
smile. "That’s a lot of fun."
Rita credits her tennis success to movement and specifically to her
background in tap dancing. A discipline she took up some 70 years ago.
"The tap dancing does a lot," she explains while gracefully moving
her feet across the court. "It helps me to move my feet. I do a little
soft shoe sometimes when I win."
In other words, she does that a lot because this grandma tends to
win more often than not. Believe it not, she doesn’t stop at just
tennis and dancing.
"Now I’m doing more in my life. I’m dancing, singing, playing
tennis, I’m meeting wonderful people, I’m a theater goer," she says.
"Once a month maybe I’ll clean a bathroom, but that’s it. What could be
better? My life is, thank you God, its great!!
In addition to her tennis and dancing, Rita takes a Silver Sneakers
class every morning which includes weight lifting and aerobics twice a
week. Rita says she loves it when her instructor throws a little hip
hop into the class.
Rita will be receiving the Perseverance Award at the Sports Women of
Colorado Banquet on March 8th. For more information about the banquet
and other awards being given out, visit www.sportswomenofcolorado.org.