MATTHEWS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – If tennis were the premise of a situation comedy, they could easily be the cast. The Charlotte squad features women in their fabulous 40s and early 50s.
“That’s gonna be on the highlight reel,” Rosalyn Kartes told her teammates on the court, after returning home from their west coast title run.
Kartes is both a character and a co-captain.
“Alright, let’s try to get a couple of shots in a row so we look like professionals!” she said.
They laugh a lot, but their chemistry is no joke.
“Woo, damnit, that was good!” Kartes says, encouraging the team.
“It’s just a really good time,” she told Queen City News. “And that showed in our success, that we’re just having fun.”
It’s never too late to take a swing at a new sport, and the team has a banner to prove it. The group, led by co-captains Kartes and Kim Diaz, won the United States Tennis Association’s Adult 40 and over 4.0 National Championships held last month at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.
The team plays out of Squirrel Lake Park in Matthews.
They won the semifinal over a team from Boca Raton, Florida, and knocked off a squad from the Chicago area to take home the championship on Oct. 29. Before that, they won the North Carolina and regional championships.
“A cool part about this team is a lot of us didn’t play tennis growing up,” says Kartes. “I think two people on the team played high school tennis, so most of us have picked up playing tennis as adults.”
“For me, the competition is the most fun part about tennis,” Julie Grahl said. “Coming out with the big ‘W’ feels good.”
It’s not just tennis that brings them together, they all happen to be championship moms. They have a combined 37 kids, and those children helped bring the players together in the first place.
“Incredible, I mean it’s just a group of moms,” Diane Bach said. “We all became friends through the parks around Charlotte.”
The 40-and-over champions say they couldn’t have done it without their husbands, who held down the fort with the kids at home while the women competed.
“Ladies, to winning nationals, woo!” they said, popping a bottle of champagne.
“Cheers!” they said, raising a red party cup.
They’re still celebrating their huge accomplishment. In some ways, it feels like this team is winning the game of life by the score of 40-plus love.
“It just proves that you can excel at a sport even as an older person and have a lot of fun doing it,” Kartes says.