Commentary: Tennis a competitive exercise for all ages

It’s nice to know that at least in a few sports, you can continue playing without having taken massive amounts of performance enhancing drugs and won’t end up with head trauma in middle age.

Even if you were never quite at the professional level, you can be competitive — and well past middle age.

Take Mike Dahm, the Kettering dentist who played tennis at Chaminade when it was still an all-boys school, then was the No. 1 player at UD before earning his dental degree from Ohio State.

For years he continued to play local tournaments — winning several — then began to play national age-group matches following a short break to concentrate on golf.

Golf went well — he was an 8 handicap — but tennis offered more exercise.

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Dahm recently turned 65 and last year, his final in the 60-64 group, he was ranked the eighth-best player in the U.S.

“In age group, you play against guys your age,” Dahm said. “It’s competitive and you’re playing against guys who won championships in their 20s.”

Of course, they’re not 20 anymore. He beat Brian Cheney, son of the famed Dodo Cheney (who’s still playing in her 90s), in a tournament last year when Cheney was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world.

“It’s neat going to tournaments and seeing guys play who are 75 and 85,” Dahm said. “There’s even a category in the 90s. If I can do that at 90, I’ll be a happy camper.”

It’s also neat to be able to play a sport and not feel in harm’s way.

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