April 20, 2017 10:12:44 AM
Tennis really is a family affair for Edd and Kay Milam.
The Starkville couple has played tennis for a large part of their adult lives. The love for the game, combined with a passion for competition, has helped keep them at the top of their game.
The two belong to the Magnolia Tennis Club and will compete this weekend when Columbus plays host to the United States Tennis Association's Southern Adult 65 & Over Mississippi Championships.
More than 350 participants are scheduled to take part in the event, which begins Friday with a players' party at 5:30 p.m.
"The social aspect of it is wonderful because you get to interact with people from all over the state," Kay Milam said. "Even if you play locally with your friends, you can make friendships that can last forever. It is a great sport that you can play well into your older years.
"My husband and I are both in our early 70s and still play. It is good exercise and gets you outside."
Edd Milam played in high school and for one season at Delta State. He got away from the game for about 25 years but returned in the late 1980s. As he has grown older, Edd has found it a convenient way to get exercise.
"I enjoy the camaraderie with the other players," Edd Milam said. "I enjoy the chance to be outdoors and doing something fun. The main thing is the exercise value. It is a great way to stay in shape and have some fun at the same time. My wife and I both have made some really great friendships by playing in events like this."
While Edd and Kay Milam have played competitive tennis for decades now, Kay Milam started playing thanks to a dating companion.
"I started dating someone who played and I liked sports, so he asked, 'Well, why don't I teach you how to play tennis?' " Kay Milam said. "I started playing then and that was when I was back in my early 20s. It has been 50 years now and it just doesn't seem possible. That's a lot of tennis, but I have loved every minute of it."
Edd Milam's love for the game started in high school. He was already playing football, basketball, and baseball and running track. Tennis was another thing to stay busy and stay in shape for the other sports.
"I have always loved competition," Edd Milam said. "Tennis was a little different in that it was more of an individual sport. It's fun working on your skill and trying to better yourself as a player. Tennis is like anything else. You have to work at it consistently to be successful."
With a forecast calling for afternoon showers Saturday, there might be reason for concern. However, the local participants plan to make the most of it. Like any other sport, there is nothing like playing at home.
"We have looked forward to this even for quite some time," Kay Milam said. "It's exciting to have the state championship here. There will be a lot of good tennis played. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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