“This is a lifestyle for me,” said Thorogood, who is 65 years old and lives in Stockbridge. “We are committed. If it’s not raining or freezing we are out here. We enjoy each other’s company and camaraderie and have fun. Nothing is scheduled around tennis and this is what we do.”
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Thorogood, Brown, Edmond Sr. and others with a few ladies are hitting drop shots, forehands and backhands from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. just for fun and to stay active.
“We get a good workout, have some fun and some laughs,” Brown said. “We just enjoy ourselves.”
“I just love to come out here and keep the exercise up and the beer belly down,” said Edmond Sr., who lives in Hampton.
Being part of this group but on a part-time basis has even been a benefit for Venjee Chambers, who just plays on Wednesdays but also competes in the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association.
“Most of us out here had some sort of illness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes or were on the verge of that,” Chambers said.
“This sport either maintains it to the point where the doctor takes you off your medication,” he said. “I have never been on it praise God, but I was a candidate. When I started playing over six years ago I was 314 pounds and now I’m down to 260. I credit tennis to that.”
Chambers, who lives in Stockbridge, played tennis in high school and his daughter, Venlisia Chambers, is currently doing likewise at Our Lady of Mercy as a rising sophomore.
While none of the other gentleman specifically mentioned have the competitive experience of Chambers, Edmond found interest in the sport during his time at the College of Alameda.
“I took a course because that is where all the ladies were,” Edmond said. “That was a part of it but I really did want to play.”
Since then, Edmond has been swinging a racket and playing at the Matthews Complex for the past eight years. He recruited Thorogood, who has 35 years of recreational experience and playing with the group for nearly four years.
“We accept anybody who is willing to come out and play,” Edmond said.