By MATT CRANE
Over 12 years ago, Kirk and Maxine Arnett decided to take their love of tennis to the next level.
During a trip to Arizona in 1999, Kirk Arnett said he and his wife began to hatch a nation-spanning sporting idea.
"We talked about it and decided to play tennis in all 50 states," he said. "We started Jan. 1, 2000 in Arizona."
Maxine Arnett said the endeavor was a fun way to not only enjoy the sport she loved, but also experience the states she and her husband had never visited.
"Our goal was to do it in 10 years, but it took us a little bit longer," she said. "We finished up in Oklahoma on March 29, 2012."
Maxine Arnett said the couple became reacquainted in 1996 when they joined a tennis group.
"We started playing together again, and we got married in 1998," she said. "After that we were traveling a lot with Kirk's job so we thought this idea would be perfect."
Kirk Arnett said one of his favorite tennis memories came from the couple's trip to New York.
"We found a tennis court on the roof of Grand Central Station by looking through the phonebook," he said. "Sure enough, we went up to the level where they had an indoor court. It was really something."
Maxine Arnett said another unexpected experience came when the couple visited the nation's capital.
"A time that was really interesting was in Washington, D.C.," she said. "We had to be careful, but we got to play in the snow."
While they both prefer a non-competitive approach to the game, Maxine Arnett said she was drawn to tennis for the exercise.
"Playing tennis was different than walking and the other things I was doing," she said. "If you keep your health up, you can play until your 80."
Although he is no longer able to play the game anymore, Kirk Arnett said meeting people on the road and getting to know strangers in other states was a welcome treat during their adventure.
"I really enjoy the social aspect of the game," he said. "It was a great bonding experience for the both of us."
Maxine Arnett said she would recommend the sport to anyone looking for a great social outlet, and is excited about the future of tennis in her own family.
"Tennis is fun and you can play singles or get a group together because it's a very social sport," she said. "We have grandchildren that seem like they're going to be very good at it."