PD, by its very nature, is unpredictable. Julie Walker uses that ‘element of surprise’ to her advantage on the tennis court, having taken up the sport – almost by accident – post diagnosis. Here she serves her first article for Spotlight YOPD.
I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s at 44 in November 2012. I have a walking stick and a blue badge and you might not want me as a tennis partner. On the tennis court: I am slow, I am clumsy, I shuffle. This may not come as a surprise, after all I have just told you I have a degenerative neurological condition, which affects movement.
On the tennis court I am an oxymoron: I can run, I change direction, I have co-ordination. If your ideal tennis partner is someone tidy and helpful with a sassy walk then don’t pick me. If however, you want a tennis partner who plays twice a week, is competitive and quite often confuses the opponents into miss hits, then choose me.
On the tennis court, the game is not the problem; it’s picking up the ball, walking between ends, tidying up and walking to the car park. I obviously need a racket to play, but could also do with a walking stick to change ends.
When I play tennis I don’t have PD.