90-year-old tennis player an inspiration on the courts

Bob Acorn, 90, plays tennis twice a week at the Victoria Park tennis courts in Charlottetown.

'Everybody admires him'

Bob Acorn has been playing tennis for 74 years. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Watching Bob Acorn on the tennis court, it's hard to believe he's 90 years old. He serves, volleys, chases down balls and smacks them back.

He started playing tennis in the 1940s when he was 16 and has enjoyed the game ever since.

"I've slowed down but still I like the action," he said. "I know where to be, that's the whole thing and when the ball goes by I don't care."

Bob Acorn plays tennis twice a week at the Victoria Park courts in Charlottetown. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Acorn said he likes being active and finds it relaxing to meet up with friends at the Victoria Park tennis courts in Charlottetown.

You've got to take advantage of what you can do, or you lose it.- Bob Acorn

He plays with a regular tennis group twice and week and usually plays for at least an hour.

He's also an avid cyclist. He used to bike to the tennis courts, which are about 15 kilometres from his home.

"[He'd] play tennis for two hours and then bike back and that would be when he was 80 and plus," said Barb MacMillan, a tennis regular who's known Acorn for years. 

Bob Acorn is an inspiration to the group of regulars he plays with at Victoria Park.

Acorn cycled the entire Confederation trail in P.E.I. — about 400 kilometres — 10 times.

He joked that he's not sure if it's endurance or stupidity that keeps him going. 

"I'm slow, everyone passes me, but I keep going," said Acorn, who smiles often and has a big laugh.

Motivation to others

He said he never considers skipping tennis — it's his routine, and he also likes the fact that he's a motivation to others. 

"People expect it of me so I'm here anyway," he said, "but it's a good reason to go."

Bob Acorn says he would never consider skipping tennis.

His friends say he's an inspiration.

"Everybody admires him," MacMillan said. "I've never heard him complain or say a bad word about anything."

'I wish I could do that when I'm 90'

Freeman MacKenzie, another regular in Acorn's group, said it's obvious Acorn enjoys the sport.

"I wish I could do that when I'm 90, I'm hoping, but I'm not sure though," he said.

Back in his 80s, Bob Acorn used to cycle back and forth from the tennis courts. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Acorn said he never really enjoyed working out for the sake of working out but he believes doing a variety of activities is the key to good health.

"Do what you like mostly," he said. "If you don't particularly enjoy jogging, don't jog, you know, do something that you do enjoy."

He said he feels lucky he's able to be so active, and plans to keep playing tennis for years to come.

"You've got to take advantage of what you can do, or you lose it."

About the Author

Laura Meader

Laura Meader is a video journalist for CBC P.E.I.