BEMIDJI BONDS: Tennis brings together Kim Goodwin and Pam Eichstadt
Each spring for the past 25 years or so, Kim Goodwin and Pam Eichstadt dust off their rackets and hit the local tennis courts. And reignite their friendship. The Bemidji women have been doubles tennis partners for, well, who can say, but it's nea...
Each spring for the past 25 years or so, Kim Goodwin and Pam Eichstadt dust off their rackets and hit the local tennis courts.
And reignite their friendship.
The Bemidji women have been doubles tennis partners for, well, who can say, but it’s nearly 25 years, they’re sure of that.
“I think the reason we’ve played together is that we have just shared so many memories playing together,” said Eichstadt, 54. “We raised our kids on the tennis court until they were old enough to stay home alone. Basically, we would bring them to Nymore, they would play on all the (playground) equipment and play with each other and we became really super friends. And we would count on each other through thick and thin.”
Longtime doubles partners are nothing new for any league in any sport, but for Goodwin and Eichstadt, spring/summer league tennis really is the bond. When tennis season ends and fall and winter comes, the duo may have have breakfast once or twice, but don’t really connect again until that next spring rolls around.
“I never had time in the winter to play tennis, because of raising kids, and the same for Pam,” said Goodwin, 55. “We were just so busy. That (tennis) would have seemed just like one more thing to do, and maybe, it’s just what worked out for us. It wouldn’t work for everybody, absolutely it wouldn’t, but for us it did, because we got on with our lives all winter, and May would happen and “Tennis, Tennis” and we would get on the tennis court.”
On the court is key, as well. It’s not as if Goodwin and Eichstadt meet for a half hour before a Tuesday night match, or stay an hour after when all the games are done. They talk on the court … while playing against their opponents.
“We talk constantly on the tennis court, this is our therapy,” Goodwin said. “We always tell each other, we have saved so much money in therapy, because we have gone through ... we have solved each others’ problems, shared recipes … helped me through a divorce, the raising of children, the marriage of children, deaths in our family, everything two women could possibly live through, we have done it.”
“And helped each other through it,” Eichstadt added.
Their opponents all have learned that’s just Pam and Kim being Pam and Kim and not to worry about the pair of talking heads across the net, they said.
“There is nothing more therapeutic than coming on the tennis court knowing that if I’ve had a bad day or there is something awful in my life, knowing I was going to be able to talk to Pam about it, and hit a tennis ball as hard as I can at the same time,” Goodwin said. “Instant release, instant release.”
The pair plans to play together as long as they can. Eichstadt recently had some shoulder problems they sidelined her for a few weeks. But other than that, they meet up each Tuesday to share their lives. And play a little tennis.
“The friendship is more important than the tennis,” Pam said.