You may have noticed a few familiar faces around the clubs this month. In an effort to spread a little motivation in the new year, our staff nominated members that they thought had inspiring stories worth sharing. These members then agreed to be photographed and have their story (and image) shared on large posters throughout the clubs. But in case you haven’t made it into the club lately, or just haven’t had a chance to hunt down all the posters, here’s our members who just “DON’T STOP!”
I had been an athlete: football, baseball, basketball, tournament racquetball, jogger, high impact aerobics, and an avid golfer. But eventually my body just wore down, and I did not do anything about fighting it. Four knee surgeries, two hip replacements, and a torn rotator cuff later, I was in a lot of pain and I let it get the best of me. I let those injuries overcome me.
With encouragement from my wife I joined Elite and became active again. So far I have lost 25 pounds, but more importantly my flexibility and balance have improved dramatically. I am very happy. I like being active again. I like that my body is working again.
I look at the process not as a destination, but rather as a work-in-progress. I am in better shape than I was when I started. I am more physically capable to face life—including playing my best golf game in 7 or 8 years. I have rehabbed my artificial hips and surgically repaired knees to the point where I can move around without too much difficulty. And I know I will be even better in another 15 months, too.
Everyone has challenges to overcome when it comes to achieving fitness goals. The fact that I was born missing my left forearm and wear a prosthesis to workout is really a non-issue. It’s just a matter of making small adaptations in some of the exercises and poses, and understanding that the most important thing is just to keep moving. Instead, the biggest challenge for me has always been finding the time to workout as much as I would like to, given competing priorities with family, job, and volunteer commitments.
I’m fortunate that my husband, Jeff, and I encourage and support each other in our desire to try to stay in shape, and we’ve always helped each other carve out time away from parenting duties to get a workout in. It’s easier now that we are empty nesters, but it’s still good to be able to push each other. I also love the variety of opportunities at Elite from yoga, to spinning, to kickboxing, or just using the gym equipment.
When I was 4 years old, I contracted the polio virus. (It was the last year it was available. Bummer!) So, on to treatment—braces, exercise, surgery, exercise, water shocks, exercise. The exercise became a part of me.
Fast forward 40 years, and post-polio kicked in. (Darn! I already did this!) I had to find a different way to get my exercise. I cannot feel good without moving, and the best place to do that is in the water. I did not learn to swim until I was told “No more exercise except in the water.” I swim and do water aerobics at Elite. I love the freedom of moving in the water, and the classes are a fun bonus!
My philosophy on staying healthy is to keep moving, enjoy new activities, and RESPECT YOUR LIMITATIONS. It doesn’t matter if it is the result of illness, accident, or (God forbid) age. There is something you can do, and it will make you feel better to do it right. I don’t push past comfort, but I can’t get lazy either.
There are many reasons why I’ve been able to continue my tennis after double knee replacements. The first and most important consideration is the surgeon. Doctor Anderson told me I would be out of the hospital in three days and home with a walker, on the court with a ball machine in three weeks, playing with our guys in two to three months, and be able to play singles again. Immediately I signed up on that first office visit of 10 minutes.
The next consideration is your support staff at home. My wife, Pat, was excellent. She came to the hospital every morning and evening. Part of the reason my recovery went so well is because of the excellent fitness facility and staff we have at Elite. I also have very good practice and playing partners. We are very fortunate to have so many top players at one club.
We try and keep each other going through all the aches and pains and occasional surgery. You are expected to show up for coffee and “The Story” even if you are injured and can’t play! Most of our group has been playing together at an Open to 4.5 level for about 30 years. If you get a chance to watch us play, you would probably agree we are doing something right.
Ralph also wanted to give a “shoutout” to a few of his fellow members:
- Peggy Kirkening and her daughter Jackie won a Gold ball this summer.
- Tom Ducrest had arthroscopy knee surgery this summer and 6 weeks later helped us win our 4.5 State League in WI. Probably helped that he played #1 for LSU.
- Marty Goldin, a Big Ten Champ at Madison, has both of his hips resurfaced. I can’t remember the last time he has lost a league match.
- Mike Sperling is rated the top State League player is SE WI and has a 5.0 rating. Pretty good for an “Old Guy”.
- Gary Taxman played #1 for North Carolina and is our “for sure point”.
- Bob Liebman has been #1 in the Midwest 5 times.
- Jay Moore has been #1 in the Midwest 4 times.
- Blake Wentz and Scott Broady are now back with our group. Happy Days!
- We also have Jason Frey, Gary Feldman and Dr. Tom Ryan helping us out.
- Like to think of myself as the glue that holds it together.
Thanks guys for helping Uncle Ralph get back on the court!
Let’s not stop here though! We want to hear ALL of your stories!Share Your Story!