Bill Christy of Socorro serves during one of his regular tennis games. At 90 years old, he stays physically active.
Photo courtesy of Gayle Rhodes

Retirement has given one Socorroan more time to stay active

At 90 years old, So­corro resident Bill Christy has no desire to simply sit around the house.

The former CPA at New Mex­ico Tech instead can be found playing tennis three days a week at the Sedillo City Courts and twice a week chasing a golf ball around the Tech Golf Course.

“I think it’s great,” said Gayle Rhodes, vice president of the Socorro Tennis Association, who regularly bats it around the court with Christy. “He’s hanging in there, and he’s a special person. He outplays me a lot.”

The availability of the courts, as well as the golf course, go a long way to making Socorro a special place to live, Christy said.

“We are very fortunate in this town that the mayor and the city council give us the best tennis courts. They are wonderful,” he said of the clay-clad courts that are easier on the body than the ever-pervasive concrete courts. “They are pretty well used. That 8 o’clock group pickup I go to, I’ve been in that for 20 years. I’m benefitting from it, obviously.”

Christy and his wife, June Christy, moved to Socorro in 1982 before he retired in 1994, but there really were no thoughts of leaving town at that point.

“This town is a pretty good place to retire in,” he said. “People that choose to retire here like it, like me and my wife. It’s great. I really enjoy it. It’s one of the reasons I am as healthy as I am. We are very grateful that the city has this to offer.”

It’s not as if Christy is some former regular at center court at Wimbledon or regularly sat atop the leaderboard at Augusta National Golf Course.

Far from it.

“I started playing about 30 years ago,” he said of tennis. “There was a pickup group go­ing and somebody invited me. I played in high school, but I hadn’t played since then. We’re not the best players in the world. But we’re all good friends and have a good time. There’s six to four people out playing. It’s a good group. The friendships we have is another reason that it’s good for me to play.”

Golf was an off-and-on thing over the years. Generally, more off than on.

“When you’re in business and have a job and a family, golf takes too much time,” Christy said. “It’s really hard when you’re younger to play much golf. Now that I’m re­tired, it’s a great thing to do to stay in shape.”

Christy and his buddies generally play nine holes, using carts.

“I play with part of the same group that plays tennis,” he said. “We play pickup with whoever shows up, and we just play to­gether. Nobody has to sign their life away. Just show up.”

As for his prowess on the links, well, “I don’t have a handicap anymore,” Christy said. “I probably shoot 100 or a little less. It is a tough course, and it is interesting. It is a great course to be on. What it gets down to is, we’re all good friends. We have a good time together, and I’m hit­ting them better right now than I have in several years.”

A few months ago, he got a birdie on the 17th hole, chipping it in from just off the green.

And one of the group recently got a birdie, as well, but it was kind of discounted.

“He’s just a kid,” Christy said. “He’s 85.”

In addition to his golfing and tennis regimen, Christy said he walks three miles day.

“Everything together, I’m in better shape to play,” he said.

But, being 90, thoughts of mortality can certainly rear their head.

“I would like to fade out, just after I get done playing,” Christy said with a chuckle. “Maybe at the 19th hole. That would be good. I’m in pretty good health, but at 90 years old, you don’t buy a lot of long-term stuff.”

Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain