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Tennis helps 92-year-old man stay sober

Posted at 1:52 PM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 10:07:01-04

In the local tennis community, everyone seems to know Jack Mallett. 

The clay courts at Dewey Park near Midtown are named after the 92-year-old because he petitioned the City of Omaha and helped raise the funds to construct the courts 15 years ago. 

"It's just incredible," he said. "The whole thing, I was stunned, I was crying." 

Mallett says getting those courts up and running is one of his biggest accomplishments, besides getting sober.  

In the late 1970s, his employer told him he had to quit drinking or he'd be fired and without alcohol, the man with the addictive personality turned to to tennis. 

"I went to Sears and bought a $25 racket, bought a $10 pair of shoes and started hitting against any wall I could find," Mallett said. 

Tennis became his new obsession and more than 40 years after picking up a racket, he still tries to play at least three times a week. 

"I don't drink one day a time," he said, "and I play tennis one day at a time."