Judy Dewey and her twin sister, Joan Ferguson, proudly carry the Indiana state flag during the parade of member delegations at the Celebration of Athletes Tuesday.
69-year-old Judy Dewey and her twin sister, Joan Ferguson, arrived in Houston from Indiana on Tuesday for their Wednesday women’s 65-69 doubles tennis match.
This would be their fourth trip to a Summer National Senior Games in conquest of a women’s doubles title. They had been to Virginia in 2003, Louisville in 2007 and Palo Alto in 2009. But they were unable to take the title even with the advantage of playing tennis together for 60 years. Their rivals, especially those “Jersey Girls,” had always gotten the best of them.
But this year would be different. The “Jersey Girls” had moved up to the 70-74 year-old bracket. This was Judy’s and Joan’s best chance at a title – they even considered themselves among the favorites.
But on Tuesday, they discovered a devastating problem. Their match wasn’t on Wednesday. It was on Monday. By not showing up on Monday they had already forfeited the match. Who is to blame will remain anonymous but the disappointment was evident even as the twins tried to make the best of it.
“We’re already here for a week,” Joan said. “We just decided to take a vacation.”
Judy, a Humana member living in Columbus, and Joan, who lives down the road in Bloomington, have been playing together since they were nine years old. Their father, they say, stuck tennis rackets in their hands and inspired them to play first as youngsters, then in high school and into their adult years.
It is a sport they are devoted to and love. “Playing tennis gives you a positive attitude about life,” says Judy. “Outfoxing your opponent keeps your mind alert. Your body benefits not just physically but mentally.”
“In tennis, there are so many ways to return the ball. You can lob, go down the outside alley, hit down the middle, approach and move in to make a hit or drop shot.”
It’s much like a chess match, Joan says, in that strategy is always important to success.
The social aspects are a benefit as well. They have made many friends even saying that the “Jersey Girls” are nice … off the court.
“Qualifying in Indiana was so much fun. They are such nice people always promoting fitness.”
Athletes from the Indiana delegation must believe the twins are pretty special as well. During the Celebration of Athletes Tuesday night, fellow athletes voted the twins as flag bearers of the Indiana flag in the parade of member delegation.
It may not lessen the disappointment of forfeiting their match in Houston but the twins are already looking to the next Summer National Senior Games. “We hope to see you in Cleveland,” Joan said.
You can bet this time they will be on time.