Cottonwood Player of the Month: Carol McCulley

The McCulley backhand

The McCulley backhand

Rod Hayward

At 85 years of age, Carol still plays tennis for an hour and a half every day, twice on Tuesdays. “I go to the gym three times a week. It keeps me fit and helps me avoid injuries.” Watching Carol play tennis in the Cottonwood Tennis Club Gender Doubles Tournament reminds me that she’s very good at it. I played with Carol in a competition two years ago and I must admit that she was in no small way responsible for us winning that match.

Although Carol is still a dangerous opponent on the tennis court, she accepts falling short of her expectations. “It’s about the fun of being on the court and about the close friends I’ve made over the years. I started playing in high school but left the sport to raise my family. It was the ladies in the Cottonwood Tennis Club and their warm welcome that enticed me back to the game 40 years later.” As for her tennis future, she expects to play for another 20 years. “If I couldn’t do this, I guess I’d have to find some other way to stay active and healthy.”

For Carol, the best part of being a tennis player comes from the chance to play tennis with her family. “They all want to take on grandma,” she says, “but they hate it when they lose.” Now a new generation of McCulleys has arrived on the scene. “My great-granddaughter is two years old now. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she didn’t hesitate, “a tennis racquet.” In a few weeks, she’ll be visiting Sun Lakes to take on her great-grandma on the Cottonwood courts. The two-year old is already in training, racing about the house swinging her new racquet and endangering the furniture with her wicked forehands. It sounds like Carol may have finally met her match. When asked why some of the black or blue rated players don’t participate in the tournaments, Carol replied, “I have no idea. They don’t know what they’re missing!”