MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a reason 93-year-old Ray Ranallo still feels so young, and it isn’t just the tennis.
It’s that Ranallo is the youngster on the court.
His doubles partner, Chuck Supplee, is 96.
“I’m a special person, there’s no one like me,” Supplee sang. “For my name is Charlie. Charles William Supplee.”
The National Senior Games start this weekend, bringing thousands of athletes age 50-and-up to the Twin Cities. Ranallo and Supplee will compete in men’s doubles tennis, as they have in the last several games, which take place every two years at destinations around the country.
“We just play the game and enjoy the game, that’s the main thing,” Ranallo said. “We just have a lot of fun.”
Ranallo, from Minneapolis, and Supplee, from Bloomington, have been playing tennis more than 30 years. Which is to say, they didn’t start until they were in their 60s.
They met at a local tennis club and started playing together 10 years ago.
“We do the best we can, and we know the other guy’s doing the best he can too,” Ranallo said.
Both of them served in the South Pacific in World War II.
At 96, Supplee is the oldest of the more than 800 Minnesotans who will compete in the games.
“The older you get the harder it is to move,” Supplee said. “Tennis and sports are ways to keep a-movin’. You gotta keep moving and keep moving. ‘Cause once you say you’re gonna retire, and you lay down, you’re no good anymore.”
That’s why they’ll compete in the games once again. Not only do they have home court advantage, nobody’s got the edge on experience.
“You young people have only lived half a life,” Supplee said. “I’d like you to live a whole life. See, because I’m older I can talk like this.”