Middle States

More Than A Number

Dene Bloom

More Than A Number


More Than A Number

Dene Bloom has seen the same scene, over and over again.


“When people I don’t know show up to play me, they always give a nod to their teammates as if the match is going to be easy for them,” she said. “I can see them saying it. ‘Look at that little, old, 4-foot-10 lady.”


“But then we play tennis,” she said.


Bloom is a regular in USTA League Tennis competition. For the last four years, she’s competed on at least three teams, including in the 18 and Over division. She began playing USTA League Tennis at 79.


USTA play may be relatively new to Bloom, but she’s been an avid tennis player for the last 30 years. Her family — including her five grandkids — also enjoy the game. Her daughters play, and she is teaming up with one of them this fall on a women’s doubles team. 


In recent years Bloom has found herself competing against a few surprise opponents. ADVERTISEMENT That includes childhood friends of her children and even women 60 years younger than her. Despite being involved with competitive play for a number of years now, Bloom still sees frequent looks of surprise from the other side of the net. 


She’s OK with that. 


“I filled in for a singles match earlier this year, and played a woman in her 40s” she said. “And I won.” 


Bloom said that she could play up to four days per week at times. When she’s not on the court, the Philadelphia native works as a graphic artist, and also with numerous charities. Tennis continues to be a highlight of her week.


“The camaraderie of all of my teammates is unbelievable,” she said. “Everyone is so nice and happy to be a team. I am a lucky lady.”


Her advice for longevity, on and off the court? She said to spend plenty of time with family (she has three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren).


“And, always stay positive and appreciate your blessings,” she added. “Tennis is a wonderful game. It keeps me young. It keeps a lot of people young. I just feel so very lucky to be playing at all, and also to be playing well. I am truly blessed.” 



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