North Texas

Seniors From Across the Country Invade Denton for Pickleball Tournament

Hundreds of seniors are in North Texas this week, playing a game you may -- or may not -- have heard of. 

On a cluster of courts at Robson Ranch in Denton, more than 200 people are competing in what can be described as a unique sport -- with a name that's sort of strange. 

"Yeah, today we're hosting a regional Pickleball tournament," said Ford Roberson, a five-year Pickleball veteran.

Pickleball is kind of like tennis -- with badminton and racquetball thrown in.

Roberson organized the tournament, known as the Quad States Regional Open. Players come from as far away as San Diego and New York.

"We came here and heard that ball bouncing," said Irene Romagosa. "When you go by a Pickleball court and start looking, they invite you in."

For Roberson, the sport is addicting.

"I walk in the gym, and I go man, what's this?" he said. "They said, 'Ford, this is Pickleball.' My wife said my eyes got this big."

A Washington state man created Pickleball for his kids more than 50 years ago. Legend has it, he had a dog who would fetch stray balls.

"The dog's name was Pickles," said Roberson. "Therefore the name Pickleball came into existence."

"It wasn't named after the dog," said Rob Romagosa, who began playing with his wife Irene when they moved to Robson Ranch. "That's a myth, that Pickles chased the ball."

"Our sport is named after a dog," contended Roberson. "It has not gone to the dogs. It's going straight to the moon."

So that part might be up for debate.  But there's no question as to why the game -- the one with the funny name -- is one of the fastest growing sports in America.

"If it sounds like I'm in love with pickleball," laughed Roberson. "I might be."

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