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Horizontal Living: 'The Last Blow'

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Dré Knols (74), married, three children, six grandchildren, is a retired physician. Every Wednesday evening he plays badminton with nine peers. 

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“As you get older, you have to keep moving. Keep your joints supple. Make sudden muscle movements. That’s why I started playing badminton nine years ago every week with other men around the age of 70. And a son of one of them, who is a bit younger. A friend of mine invited me to join ‘The Last Blow’ as our club is called. I did not come up with that name, but I find it well chosen. I have in fact already had to perform CPR on someone during training.

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Every Wednesday at a quarter to 9 pm, I faithfully go to the sports hall here in the village. First we hang up the nets, we dim the lights and then blow off steam in the hall for an hour and fifteen minutes. I can curse a lot, as I am extremely fanatic at the game. Therefore it’s a pity to notice that I am becoming less fast and that exercise is getting increasingly difficult. Fortunately, there is a strong social side to ‘The Last Blow’: after our workout, we grab a beer at the bar.

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We truly have become friends over the years and talk about everything: over a beer we discuss the politics of Meerssen. We talk about the situation at home. As it turns out, everyone always seems to have the same issues with his wife. Perhaps that is why we never came around to organizing that special drink where we would invite our wives.

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My wife thinks I’m even less at home than before my retirement. Perhaps she is right: I am in all kinds of boards, I paint and I sing in a men’s choir. I’m never bored for one second, nor would I want to. Because being retired isn’t all that, I would have rather remained a little longer in the hospice, where I worked until I was sent into retirement at 67. The only advanta- ge of retirement is that you don’t have to get out of bed early. And after trai- ning you can linger longer than before."

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Models: Dré, Niek, Joop, Harry and Wim
Photography: Anke Leunissen
Text: Carolien Dircken