HONOLULU (KHON2) — Rain, isn’t enough to keep Tom Carpenter away from the sport he loves to play and the sport he loves to coach.
“Good serve, that’s a real good serve, that’s one of the better ones you’ve had,” said Carpenter.
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And he’s not one to hold back.
“Another good serve, now why don’t you do that all the time in the match?” said Carpenter.
It’s the way he’s been coaching at Kailua Racquet Club for the past 20 years. But he didn’t start playing, until he was in his late 40’s.
“I couldn’t play football anymore,” said Carpenter. “So I had something to do.”
When KHON2 News asked Carpenter what he liked about the sport he said, “Well I like the fact that you get a lot of exercise in a short period of time compared to golf and I enjoyed the camaraderie.”
He still drives, hitting the courts several times a week.
“The thing I really like is I enjoy seeing the girls getting better. It gives me satisfaction that I can help them improve their skill level,” said Carpenter.
He’s been helping tennis player Angie Crawford for three seasons.
“So that’s the name of our team, the Pacemakers because Tom actually has a pacemaker and so when we’re getting into tie break situation, we go, ‘you’re getting Tom’s pacemaker going,'” said Crawford.
Coach Carpenter, who served as president of a welding equipment company before retiring, said he teaches players about the mechanics of tennis and forces them to go to the net.
“And as a result, we’ve done pretty well, because the team that controls the net, is going to win the game most of the time,” said Carpenter.
“He tells it like it is that’s for sure, he doesn’t sugarcoat anything, he comes out on the court and tells you this is what you’re doing wrong, fix it,” said Crawford.
Crawford appreciates the extra push he gives her. She joined other current and past players last week to celebrate Coach Carpenter’s 95th birthday. Some of the players he coached in national competitions.
“Very nice, I appreciated it very much, everybody coming and supporting me, like I said, they give me a reason to get out of bed every morning,” said Carpenter.
In addition to tennis, Coach Carpenter stays active by swimming and walking. He encourages other kupuna to keep moving and not to give up. In fact, he plans to serve aces.
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“As long as I can,” said Carpenter.