Dorsey Memorial Is in Full Swing
WHEELING – No matter what age, the desire to win never fades.
Russell Fink and Mark Forrester can attest to that.
Both live for the chance to compete and are doing so at the Jack Dorsey Memorial Senior Open.
”The challenge for me is to play my best against the best,” said Fink, a resident of Annapolis, Md. ”Some of the best in the world are not here, although they have been in past years. Some of the best in the world have played this tournament.
”Tournament tennis is different,” said the 85-year-old, who didn’t pick up a tennis racket till the age of 54. ”It’s different from recreational tennis or social mix doubles – hit-and-giggle tennis. These people, and I’m included, have prepared. We’ve scouted our opponents. We’ve talked to people about how such-and-such plays. There’s a mindset when you walk on the court that’s different. You’re playing against someone who really, really wants to get the ball past you. And yet, the antagonisms on the court are at a minimum. Once in a while you’ll get some character with a little too much testosterone, but, when you get to my age, you don’t have much left.”
”The commaradery between the players is so important,” said the 74-year-old, who made the seven-hour drive from Morristown, N.J. ”I played a fella (Thursday) that I’ve never met before and we got along like we were brothers. At this stage of the game, why argue? When I see my shot going out, I call it out. That’s the way it should be played.”
The competition, though, isn’t the only reason why both men make the trip up to the Oglebay tennis courts every June.
They both come, in part, because they knew, and respected, Jack Dorsey.
”I came here for the first time about 10 years ago because of Jack Dorsey,” Forrester said. ”One of the finest individuals you will ever find in tennis.”
Added Fink: ”Jack was just perfect. He ran such a good tournament that you could not want to stay away. It was so good. We’re all sad that Jack died, but we keep coming back. My wife and I come here for vacation with a little tennis thrown in.”
The other reason why Fink and Forrester make the journey every year is because of the people who make the Senior Open possible.
”This is one of the most fun tournaments because of the people that are the hosts here,” Forrester said. ”And the people in town. There’s very friendly people here. It’s great. I always brag about West Virginia people. If it were not so, I wouldn’t be here. That’s so important. Human relations, that’s No. 1.”
Both, also, have a respect for the work that needs to be put into such a grand event due to the fact that both put on tournaments at their own respective country clubs.
”I run a couple of tournaments in Maryland,” Fink said, ”so I’m able to see some of the problems involved with putting this many people on the court and the rain and the juggling and going up the hill to play on those courts. It’s a good place to come.”
Forrester enjoyed a 6-2, 6-3 victory Thursday morning and will play this morning at 9, while Fink had a first-round bye and will also compete at 9.
”I’ve devoted all my entire sports life to tennis,” Fink said. ”It got to me and I just didn’t want to give it up. You’re not playing anyone younger than five years from you. It evens it out. The older you get, you lose your reaction speed, you lose your foot speed, but you gain your smarts, which compensates for a lot.”
The Jack Dorsey Memorial Senior Open will continue through Sunday.