Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At 90, Collier Takes a Swing at Senior Games

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At 90, Collier Takes a Swing at Senior Games

Article excerpt

Richard Collier is getting ready to head out to the National Senior Games and in honor of moving to a new age division the Englewood resident is breaking out a new T-shirt.

He has retired his "OLDER THAN DIRT" shirt in favor of one that reads, "If I CAN'T BEAT 'EM, MAYBE I CAN OUTLIVE 'EM."

Collier is a veteran of the National Senior Games, having played in seven of the biennial games since 1999. Actually, at the age of almost 90, he is a veteran of almost everything.

He certainly has played his share of tennis since taking up the sport about 78 years ago. And, though he doesn't run as well as he once did, he continues to win many more matches than he loses. He is ranked among the top players in the country in the 90-Over age division and is seeded second at the National Senior Games that will be held later this month in Cleveland, Ohio.

"I am playing as good right now as I have in years," Collier said. "I just can't move very good. If they hit the ball to me, I am fine but I have trouble getting to anything much out of arm's reach.

On his way to Cleveland -- Collier plans to drive there -- he will stop in St. Louis where he will celebrate his 90th birthday with his family, including his two sons, grandchildren and six great grandchildren between the ages of 3 and 11.

Then he will hit the road to Cleveland for a week of tennis, where he will play singles in the 90-Over division and doubles in the 85-Over division, before making his way back to Florida.

"I love to drive," he says about traveling alone. "I am constantly driving people to the airport. I have been doing it for years and years."

Nothing would be finer than to win another trophy tennis ball to add to the gold he won in 1999 and two bronze since then.

"I am feeling optimistic," said Collier, an Englewood resident.

Part of that optimism rests in the fact that he knows he will be playing on a normal tennis surface at the indoor courts in Chardon, the site for his age group. …

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