Posted on

continued from page Growing ….

continued from page

Growing up, Charlie saw his body develop a little slower than with other kids in his grade, but he had a sense of maturity about that, never carping and complaining and seeing any urgency to eat more steaks and drink more milkshakes. He was compatible with the work ethic and discipline. He could spend hours in a batting cage, bent on improving his swing.

No college scouts were beating down his door. He allows this assessment. “I was undersized and underdeveloped and wasn’t ready to be looked at as a college prospect.”

His insights are sagacious and poignant. As his body frame matured, he realized that if nature blessed him physically, there was more than having a big frame: “I had to learn how to use size to my advantage.

“I just had to be patient and try to learn which is what was very helpful for me, gaining a competitive edge playing against kids who were bigger, stronger and better at the game than I was.”

He also played football and loved the sport and still misses football. “I think the thing I missed most,” he smiles, “is being with my teammates. You have to work together in all sports, but it is especially true with football. I get the biggest kick out of seeing the nation’s best team play between the hedges. I love football and I miss the game a lot.”

The familial influence is not lost on Charlie. His older brother Matt was his best friend and he got the greatest support from his sister, Sarah. His parents Jim and Rebecca were always encouraging AND challenging him, not doting on him to be a superstar. “They influenced me to try to be a good human being first—having good habits and treating other people right. The priority in my life is to be a good teammate first and to enjoy my teammates.

He circles back to underscore the importance of relationships. “I want to be a guy who people enjoy playing with. That is not going to happen if you are a nightmare to play with on the field. I want to be that over all that other stuff.” (That means headlines, accolades and individual recognition.)

Coming to Athens became a family tradition. They first made trips to the Hedges when his first cousin, Owen Condon, played tackle for the 2021 National Champion Dawgs.

You find a heavy dose of sentimentality with Charlie who experiences an emotional high when he walks down the campus to class at the Terry College of Business. “It gives me the greatest feeling to have that experience,” he smiles and then adds, “Yes sir, I will a hundred percent finish my degree at some time or other. That is very important to me and my family.”

With COVID turning everything upside down, Charlie initially considered a small school opportunity but kept holding out hope that he could find a way to compete at the highest level—he felt deep inside that he could be successful—when former Bulldog coach, Scott Stricklin, offered him a preferred walk-on opportunity. His reaction to that even today is an emphatically reverent, “Awesome.” You can add a fistful of exclamation points to that comment.

Jim Condon watched his son in his formative years and saw that he was a good athlete and was eager to learn from his coaches along the way. “He took his lumps, early on,” the father says. “He gained confidence from preparation—Charlie was always working overtime to be successful in sports. That is why we had told him all along that too much attention and too much publicity can trip you up.”

Athletic staff members smile after conversations with Charlie and his parents. If you didn’t know better, you might think you were talking to Brock Bowers and his family. Brock never wanted any attention, deflecting praise at every opportunity to his teammates.

Just as it was with Bowers, however, if your performance warrants attention, you can’t stem the tide which happened to the Bowers family and is now taking place with the Condon clan.

It is refreshing to see college kids who become multi-millionaires by age 25 as it is likely to be the case for both Bowers and Charlie Condon. In the case of these two prodigies, there is good news in that they can handle the attention—just as they can perform with the best on the playing fields.

Recent Death Notices