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Pickleball, fastest growing sport in the nation

What makes pickleball popular to many across the nation, including in north Mississippi?

Posted: Sep 8, 2019 11:09 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2019 9:46 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - No ping pong table, no tennis court; players described the sport of pickleball differently.

"Ping pong on steroids," John Bryson said.

Although it's one of the fastest-growing sports in America, pickleball didn't spark any interest to the people here in Tupelo, at first.

"I couldn't find anyone here to play. No one had even heard of the game," said Martin Herman, the vice president of Tupelo Area Pickleball.

Bryson said the sports is easy to learn, but it's very difficult to master.

Former U.S. Rep. Joel Pritchard started pickleball in Washington state in the 1960s.

Since its birth, the number of locations to play pickleball has quadrupled in the States and internationally.

"It's suitable for all ages," Herman said. "Kids as young as 7 or 8 can play, and people my age and older. I've played with 82-year-olds, 92 year-olds, and they beat me and they beat younger players."

Even those with previous injuries and certain debilitating diseases can play.

"In fact, we have a player with Parkinson's who says when he s playing, his Parkinson's doesn't bother him as much," Herman said.

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