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“Pickleball” Starts New Sports Craze, Comes To Pittsburgh

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — It looks like tennis, is played with a paddle (like ping pong), and has the same court size and rules as badminton.

They play with a wiffle ball — and the game is catching on.

Tom Panek teams up with Laurel Beitsinger, in a doubles match on a basketball court in Economy borough.

“If you have your own net setup you can play anywhere, basically,” Beitsinger says. “An asphalt driveway, or you can share the court like we do here.”

Tom Panek, who travels the country in his RV, says he and wife were in an Arizona campground when, “We were hearing this noise. And we went over to the courts and there we discovered pickleball. Huge following in the Southwest.”

Now the game is making its way east.

Next year the borough hopes to put two real pickleball courts in the park.

Beitsinger says it appeals to older players, because “You don’t have to run as far. The court is smaller. The ball is lighter, so when you’re hit by it it doesn’t hurt as much.”

She says it also appeals to the short attention span set.

“It’s a quick game,” she said. “It’s quicker than tennis. That’s why the young ones like it too.”

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