Tennis

South Florida tennis player, 81, to compete for Team USA at Israel’s Maccabiah Games – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

South Florida tennis player, 81, to compete for Team USA at Israel's Maccabiah Games – WSVN 7News |  Miami News, Weather, Sports

(WSVN) – A South Florida man proves you’re never too old to try new things. He and his tennis-loving family attempt their backhand in an international competition. Kevin Ozebek has tonight’s 7 Spotlight.

Everyday is good for 81-year-old Joe Schwartz…as long as he gets on the field.

Joe Schwartz: “I play a little bit every day and I can stay active, you know, and that’s what we do.”

Joe has played tennis most of his life, but now he does more than just play to stay active.

He is training for one of the greatest sporting competitions in the world: the 21st Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Joe Schwartz: “Is it cool to meet people from all over the world? And you will compete against other athletes, Jewish athletes from all over the world.

The Maccabiah Games are the world’s largest competition for Jewish athletes. Eighty countries are represented, with athletes competing in 47 sports.

Joe will compete for Team USA in the 80+ tennis division at the games in July.

He will be joined by some familiar faces. His sons, Todd and Jason, will also play tennis for Team USA.

Todd Schwartz: “I phoned and I called my – my brother and my dad, and I said, ‘Hey, I’ll do it. Why don’t you do that? And above all, let’s try to do it together? »

Joe was a little hesitant at first.

Joe Schwartz: “’I’ll do it, but I’ll be your coach. I won’t play in it or anything like that. And then Todd replies, “Well, dad, you know, why don’t you?”

This question made him think, and finally, say yes.

Joe Schwartz: “You’re going to wish you had the opportunity to do something, and you didn’t. When you turn around and look back in time, why didn’t I? »

The family began the qualifying process last summer. Jason says earning a spot on Team USA is an overwhelming feeling.

Jason Schwartz: “I mean, you have this good feeling in your heart that you could do something together as a family, something that we all love to do and have done most of our lives.”

The excitement of being part of the team now gives way to the reality of competition.

Jason Schwartz: “The goal is to try to win a medal.”

And that doesn’t come without a lot of training.

Todd Schwartz: “Playing tennis four to five days a week, going to the gym three days a week. It goes far beyond what we think of just hitting balls on a tennis court.

While the two hope to win in their respective divisions, they each agree that there is something more important, and that is the opportunity to represent their country and their faith, together as a family.

Joe Schwartz: “Walking into a stadium with thousands of people cheering for you, cheering you on, I mean with your family? It doesn’t get any better than that.

As the Schwartz family trains for the games, they also fundraise for Team USA. If you would like to donate, click here.

And if you know of anyone, a group, or a place we should spotlight, email us at [email protected] We would love to hear from you.

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