Veterans Come Together At Wounded Warriors Tennis Camp

The history of the Balboa Tennis Club can be traced back to 1922. But it’s an event that’s only in its fifth year that has the venue receiving some much-deserved attention.

The San Diego District Tennis Association – in collaboration with the club, the United States Tennis Association, and Naval Medical Center San Diego – is hosting the fifth annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp this week. The event is expected to attract 50 veterans from 24 different states.

And just because some of the veterans are in wheelchairs, doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy themselves.

“Being a tennis pro, I know tennis is a great sport for these people,” said club tennis director Geoff Griffin. “It’s not an easy game to play but it’s an easy game to have fun with.”

“If you’d have asked me 20 years ago if I’d be playing tennis, I would say ‘absolutely no’,” said Phyllis Thieken of Ohio, who is attending the event for the second time. “But I found I really love it.  It’s a challenge – because every day is a challenge – but I’m learning that life is not just work.”

But the event doesn’t just have physical benefits – it also positively affects the emotional and mental well-being of its attendees.

“Isolation is a big thing for me,” said Oregon’s Trent Smith, also attending the camp for the second time.  “(It’s great) being able to come out and spend time with other veterans, and other people going through the same challenges…and being able to just come together for a central goal for tennis.”

 “It’s been an amazing opportunity.”

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