Stronger Than Ever
By Jeremy Brown
Nancy Brophy has been a member of Club Fit since its earliest days and shows no signs of slowing down!
When Nancy Brophy first came to Club Fit back in 1973, it was a very different place than what it is today. “There were just six tennis courts and you didn’t have to be a member,” she recalled.
As the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, the trend of racquetball began to grow. Brophy, always eager to take on a new challenge, decided to give it a try. “I’d never heard of it, but I like to try anything new,” she said. “So I gave it a go and I’m still playing twice a week!”
Born and raised in Peekskill, Brophy says that she always had a high energy level, most likely inherited from her mother, and has remained active well into her adult years. “I play golf, tennis, and racquetball,” she says. “And I used to ski, although I don’t do that anymore.”
When she’s not playing hard on Club Fit’s racquetball courts (where she can still be found every Tuesday and Thursday), Brophy is working just as hard as the director, owner, and founder of the Tom Thumb Preschool in Mohegan Lake. Brophy founded the school 50 years ago in 1968 when her circumstances forced her to think outside the box.
“I was teaching at Copper Beech Middle School, and I was going to have a baby,” she recalls. “And the laws at that time were when women began to show, they had to take a year off. They couldn’t teach and be pregnant.”
Not wanting to stay idle, Brophy sought out a piece of land owned by her father and decided to start a school.
“I had a year off with nothing to do,” she says with a laugh. “And here I am today!”
During her half-century teaching the children in and around Mohegan Lake, Brophy has seen the kids she once taught grow up and come back to her school to enroll their own children.
“The special part of it is that every day the children are the challenge,” she says of the joys of teaching. “I have a wonderful staff, hundreds of people who’ve worked for me over the years. My teachers and staff make possible my dreams for children come true. I’ve had a great run and I’m still there every day!”
But, she says, “I don’t let anything interfere with racquetball!”
That commitment to her twice-weekly racquetball games is part of Brophy’s philosophy of staying active and keeping oneself in shape. In fact, she is so devoted to that philosophy that she makes physical education a key component of Tom Thumb’s curriculum.
“Even with my four and five-year-olds, I’m teaching them how to hold a racquet and hit the ball against the wall,” she says. “They love to do that. I also try and teach them how to putt. We have some artificial turf where we do putting. Kids should have physical education every day. And I’m afraid for this new generation because they’re not active enough.”
Brophy’s devotion to staying fit is part of what drew her to Club Fit, but it’s not the sole reason she’s remained a member for forty-five years. “It’s a great place to be,” she says simply. “They’re accommodating, the place is immaculate, and they throw wonderful parties for the members! They’ve got a lot of competition, as I do. And they’ve managed to stay afloat and keep getting better.”