by Sue Levine, special to USTA.com
For the Men's 2.5 Texas NE Section out of Tyler, getting to the USTA National Championships is sweet. For two of the players it's especially sweet. They just started playing tennis for the first time 8 months ago, and here they are competing at the National Level.
Jim Lowden is 53 years old. He says he got the call from some golfing buddies, who talked him into joining the team. Lowden was reluctant , because he didn't think tennis was much of a sport. The first time he played he went up against a 68-year old, and Lowden says the older man "beat him down badly." Then Lowden thought, "OK. I get this." He felt very humbled by the sport.
Brad Box is 32. He also started playing for the first time 8 months ago when he joined the team. He was more into golf and basketball. His father was a tennis player, and when he hurt his knee, he gave Box his tennis gear. So Box decided to join the team. He says it's much better exercise, and takes a smaller chunk out of the day than golf.
Box and Lowden are very excited to be playing in the National Championships. Box says, "It's our first time. Now we expect this."
Lowden feels very lucky to have the opportunity to compete at this level. He says if he and Box can make it to the National Championships the first time out, as old as they were when they started to play, there's a message: "Tennis is for everybody. Get out and play."