Knees put tennis buff in pickleball mindset
After undergoing knee surgery, Georges Condon wanted to remain active. He found the solution in a seemingly unlikely place: pickleball.“It’s like a cross between tennis, ping-pong and badminton,” Condon said. “There’s a net in the middle, the court is smaller and it can be played indoors or outdoors.” When Condon, an independent benefits adviser, and his wife first took up the sport, they immediately loved the game. He soon volunteered to work as a substitute instructor for pickleball lessons and soon began teaching his own lessons at the Branch Crossing YMCA, and now also teaches at the Creekside YMCA. “I’m just starting the program up there,” he said. “We’ve got five or six players to start with, but it’s brand new and in the growth phase right now.” The sport was a natural fit for Condon, who began playing tennis more than a decade ago. He was attracted to pickleball mainly because of its similarity to tennis, but it caused less wear and tear on the body, Perhaps most importantly, it is normally a casual game. It’s also great to play during brutal Houston summers, when the heat can make outdoor sports such as tennis nearly unbearable. “It’s just a fun game,” Condon said. “We have a lot of fun, we laugh a lot and it’s indoors.” The sport was invented in 1965, and there have been national tournaments since 1976, but pickleball has yet to achieve true mainstream status. Condon anticipates the sport will grow. “It’s great exercise without a lot of impact,” he said, an especially important factor for Condon and his wife, both of whom have undergone multiple knee surgeries in recent years. Condon invites anyone interested to visit one of his lessons at the Y. “They can watch us play the game or watch the lesson, and if they decide they want to do it, they can sign up,” Condon said. For more information about the sport of pickleball, visit www.usapa.org or sign up for Condon’s lessons at the Branch Crossing YMCA. Chris Marshall is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com ABOUT GEORGES CONDON AGE: 66 OCCUPATION: Independent benefits adviser COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Teaches pickleball lessons at the Outdoor Adventure Center at Creekside YMCA FAST FACT: Condon was an avid tennis player before his knee surgery.