What's The Secret Recipe? By Lizl Kotz

Jane Lutz approaching the net at the Women's Clay Court National in Houston

Jane Lutz approaching the net at the Women's Clay Court National in Houston

I had the opportunity to watch the women's national 90's division finals today.  Jane Lutz beat Rita Price in a tiebreaker after they split sets.  Jane is 89 and plays in the 90's division- she turns 90 this calendar year.

After the match I cornered Jane and asked if I can ask her some questions.  I was fully prepared for her to decline due to just finishing her finals and probably needing a rest.  She graciously accepted to talk with me while sipping her Diet Pepsi and there was little indication that she was in need of  a rest.  

Jane lives in Sarasota, Florida.  She raised four kids with her husband who played professional baseball for the St. Louis Browns.  Tennis only became a part of her life when she turned 50.  Her husband encouraged her to take time for her new hobby and it's a good thing he did, because Jane is as elegant on the court as she is off.  In her seventies she retired as a high school English teacher which allowed her even more time to devote to tennis and travel around the world to compete.  

In the tennis world, the award for winning a national tournament is a gold ball, the size of a marble.  This marble-sized gold ball is "worth" more than a million dollar paycheck according to a review of the tennis documentary "Gold Balls."  Jane has earned almost 100 balls! A combination of gold, silver and bronze.  I of course had to know where she keeps all of her gold balls. She replied with a chuckle that she donated all of her books and displays all of her hard-earned gold, silver and bronze balls in her bookcases.  

To stay in shape, Jane does floor exercises every morning for 30 minutes.  She follows this with agility work in her living room which is the width of a tennis court.  In the afternoons she will walk 1-2 miles at a brisk pace.  She also plays tennis with male tennis players three times a week in order to get the strong competition she needs to prepare for tournaments. 

Jane has an amazing life and I could have talked to her for an entire day.  I forced myself to complete our interview but had to ask the question I am sure she gets asked multiple times a day.  "Jane, what is your secret?"  She replied with a shrug of her shoulders: "I drink Diet Pepsi instead of water because I don't like the taste of it.  On hot days, I think the ice cubes in my Diet Pepsi must  keep me hydrated.  I really don't do anything special, I just feel happy to be alive and to be healthy enough to do what I love."