Red Dirt Diaries: The Fastest Growing Sport In The Country - Pickleball

Friday, November 2nd 2018, 5:46 pm
By: Karl Torp

It's a sport named after the dog of its inventor who kept stealing the ball.

But Oklahomans are finding the fountain of youth through pickleball.  A game played with a whiffle ball and paddle on a court one-forth the size of a tennis court.

Of the 21 sports played during this year’s Oklahoma Senior Games, no sport could match the more than 250 people who participated in Pickleball in October.

“Pickleball really is the fastest growing sport in the nation,” says competitor Barbara Mock. 

“I win some, I lose some and I go home tired,” says 82-year-old Ted Nicholls.

“I put my tennis rackets under the bed,” says Chris Thomas who was hooked after his first lesson.

Thomas, 72 is from Florida and has played in 20 pickleball tournaments this year, including ones in Mexico and Spain.

“This is probably the only sport where you don't know anybody and you go to a tournament and you get to meet them and they say ‘come on over and stay house when you are travelling through.’ I don't know of any sport that does this,” says Thomas who finished second in his division.

The matches get tight, but in the end competitiveness can’t stack up to the camaraderie.

You meet the nicest people,” says Mock.

"You play with good people, talented, but they are your friends,” says Nicholls.