January 2016 Ace of the Month is Norm Bloom
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised about 3 miles from the Highland Park Tennis Courts but lived in NYC for part of the 80’s and 90’s.
If you aren’t from Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, what brought you to Pittsburgh, PA?
Does not apply.
At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?
My roommate in college was a tennis player and an engineering student. Since his schedule was so imposing, he had little free time. When he felt he needed exercise, he took me out on the court and beat up on me. I learned to play out self-defense.
Did you play for any school teams? If so, what teams, when and at what schools?
I ran track at Geneva College and was a ½ miler.
What level tennis player are you now? What was your highest ranking?
I have been #1 in Allegheny Mountain, at some point, since my 40’s including 8 years in a row in my 70’s.. I’ve been in the top 100 in the National Rankings from time to time.
Do you play in tournaments now? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, I play in tournaments. Why? Because I’ve never grown up and in 2016 I get to play in the 80’s.
Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play? Why?
Singles. I get to overcome my mistakes without penalizing my partner.
Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.
Bob Romito is one of my favorites because he is the best tennis player I’ve ever seen on one leg and a torn up knee. Jim Quigley, who can’t walk worth a darn but runs like a deer, is another.
What is it about the game that you like? Why?
Tennis is a microcosm of life. Put me on a court for an hour with anyone and I’ll tell you everything you want to know about that person. (character, sense of fair play, ambition)
Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?
Bad line calls. Some have said, “He doesn’t see well.” That’s an OK excuse except when the call is always in his favor.
If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?
The let cord on a serve. If the ball is in, it’s in. Treat it as you would any let cord.
What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?
My endurance is the strongest part of my game which is a result of my diet and exercise regime. I work out every morning and I play tennis every evening after work. I don’t eat meat or dairy. I do eat fish and I have a mostly plant based diet with limited carbs.
What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?
I would like to cut down on my unforced errors. During a match try counting how many points you’ve outright won versus how many you’ve given away because of an error.
Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind? Please share the circumstances of that match with us.
During the Senior Olympics I was told my next opponent was, at one time, ranked #3 in the world. I was totally intimidated. Fortunately, early in the match, he gave me one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen, a let call after the point was over on a ball that trickled behind him from the court next to us. I forgot how intimidated I was, became very aggressive with my shot selection and won 6-3, 6-2.
Aside from tennis, in what other athletic activities do you participate?
I work out at my home gym.
What is your favorite type of music?
Name your favorite musical artist/group?
My wife, Linda Bloom, who sings Blues and Gospel, only by request.
What is your favorite food?
Salmon because of the variety of ways it can be prepared and its value as a health food.
What can always be found in your refrigerator?
Homemade green juice consisting of kale, spinach, carrots, celery, broccoli, wheat grass, banana and an orange spiced with cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, Vega protein powder and water blended together in a Vita Mix.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
St. Barts – St. Barthelemy
What would most others be surprised to know about you?
That I’ve been an Investment Advisor since 1960 but before that I was an Arthur Murray dance instructor during college and that I had a career as an actor after college.