The Over-the-Hill Game

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald
Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club

Slap In The Face Award


Here’s a slap for all of us on the backside of the hill, and it’s about exercise.

I recently went back to tennis as my primary exercise. I walk, swim and bike, but tennis is my new go-to sport. And as I’m sure you already know, it isn’t as easy to get into the swing of it as it was back in the early ’70s when I last played seriously.

Here’s the proof…

A recent mixed doubles game with some friends was a who’s who of injuries, falls, aches, pains and braces of all sorts…

My better half’s right knee has a slight tear and tends to swell. She had on a knee brace.

I use a strap for chronic tendonitis and had to ask for a replacement halfway through the first set because of cramps in my hip and backside from an old injury.

My buddy Howard was limping from an old foot injury.

Evan, the only real tennis player of the bunch, forgot we aren’t 30 anymore and did a diving slide for a wide shot. He was the second person out of the game and now has back spasms.

The only one of us who wasn’t limping, aching or wearing some kind of brace or wrap was Brenda. And she was loaded up on ibuprofen! She recommends taking it one hour before playing.

Just two courts away was a pair of the under-50 crowd playing singles. They made us look like an outing from an orthopedic ward!

Luckily, there weren’t any spectators, or I don’t know if I could have stood the muffled laughs from the kids who usually hang around the courts.

As you know, I am a big proponent of exercise in retirement, and that’s one of the reasons I went back to tennis. It has a social and physical component. You don’t meet many new folks or have any conversations swimming laps.

But be prepared if you’re venturing out on a new exercise regimen… We aren’t 20, 30 or even 40 anymore.

And if, like most of us, you have a herniated or bulged disc, a worn-out knee, or a hip or foot problem, it can be daunting at first.

Despite the aches, pains and braces, we had a ball and laughed at our bad shots and maladies. And besides the exercise, we’re out there to laugh, be with each other and have fun. And maybe keep the waistline down just a bit.


Ah, senior years. In some ways, they’re so much better than being young, and in other ways, not so much. But get out there anyway.

Good investing,