The term “Super Ager” refers to people over 80 whose cognitive function compares to that of an average middle-ager.
But, to me, super aging means so much more. It also emcompasses both physical and social acuity and a genuine joy in living. I met many people who exhibit these qualities, but none more than my friend and tennis partner of 30 years, Garry Schwalbach.
Born in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, the son of a grocer, Garry graduated from Covington Latin School at 16 and began a 64-year career selling Cadillacs. He has earned the distinction of being named the No. 1 salesperson in the country three times. To keep his mind active, he still works from 1 until 8 p.m. at the dealership and, on weekends, he checks and does repairs on his 70 rental units.
His passion, however, is sports, including racquetball, softball, volleyball and tennis. His over-65 softball team, appropriately named “Yesterday’s Kids”, meets twice a week and has won the playoff championship twice, most recently in 2020. Garry, who is two decades older than many of his teammates, gets drafted every year as the starting second baseman.
While wintering in Florida, he plays tennis every day. Since most of his tennis buddies have retired from the game, Garry plays tennis with the Ladies of Beachplace and a younger group of gentlemen at the Sanctuary Club.
Garry and I hope to compete in the USTA mixed doubles over-80 tournament as soon as the Covid restrictions are lifted.
Once, when asked by a Medicare representative if he walked with a cane, Garry, who at 85-years old does 50 pushups each morning, replied, “No, I slide into third base.”
With his attitude alone, this “Super Ager” will remain forever Yesterday’s Kid.