Bill Plummer at University Park, Florida


Bill at ready stance

 


Waiting for Backhand

January, 2011

Venice Tennis Player Profiles: Bill Plummer

Talent and raw determination teamed with top-notch medical technology:

Some month's ago I contacted Bill Plummer and asked for an interview. I wanted to find out what makes him tick, what motivates him. More to the point, I wanted to know how he manages to continue competing at such a high level despite ailments that would have easily pushed most athletes to the sidelines.

He graciously accepted, and we met on the deck of the University Park Tennis Center, north of Sarasota, Fl.

My first impression of Bill was that he was a highly focused, straight shooting kind of guy. He sort of sized me up, kind of like he must have done one of those defensive linebackers when he played pro football. Somehow, I got the feeling he could either go around or straight through me with equal ease.

Bill grew up playing sandlot sports. He would play baseball, basketball and football sometimes all in the same day. His was a "Class C" high school where his speed (9.9 in the 100 yard dash) also earned him a spot on the track team.

His passion was football, and used that speed at the University of Buffalo, and later, playing Canadian football for part of two seasons. Eventually he settled back in New York state where he played tailback and also coached in the Eastern Football League. He was on the field at times into his early thirties, on a team out of Lockport, NY. They traveled at times, going up against teams from Massachusetts to as far away as eastern Ohio.

According to Bill, they would get Pros on their way out who still wanted to play a few seasons, and they would also get college players and the occasional high school grad who had raw talent, but didn't get recruited. It was not all business. Older players and coaches at times would lend a hand helping talented younger players get a tryout with a college recruiter.

It was there in this league where Bill met Nick Kish, also a tail back, who eventually retired to Southwest Florida. Bill, like his other teammates were living their dream, ...getting paid for what they loved to do. It was also those years that paved the way for the next chapter in his athletic career and personal life.

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