North Texas Plays Pickleball With Relish

Sport that is gaining in popularity mixes tennis, badminton

The fastest-growing sport for baby boomers is also gaining popularity in North Texas.

Patricia Krump, a local player, says the game is like tennis on a smaller court.

"We play with paddles instead of rackets," she said. "We play with a wiffle ball instead of tennis balls."

Jerry Steger, an ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association said the game is named for its inventor's pet.

"The inventor had a dog named Pickles who used to go chase the balls when they would hit them, and that's how the game was actually named," he said.

He said pickleball is played across the nation. Steger, who lives at Robson Ranch in Denton County, is part of a pickleball club that's made up of nearly 200 members.

The USA Pickleball Association estimates there are 100,000 active players in the United States. There is also a move to introduce the sport into schools so the younger generation can catch on.

"This is a sport that anybody can play," Steger said. "You don't have to be a great athlete to play pickleball."

Boomers are spreading their passion to the next set of players.

"There's not a whole lot good about growing old, but pickleball is pretty good," Krump said.

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