Pickleball Grows In Popularity As A Way To Get Moving

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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) — If you’re a fan of tennis, ping-pong or badminton, you might want to check out pickleball as a way to get moving and get healthy. Several nights a week, Terramar Park in Parkland is teeming with dozens of players of all ages enjoying this activity with the funny name.

Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis. The sport is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Players use a paddle and a plastic ball with holes in it. At Terramar Park, pickleball has become a great way for senior citizens to stay in shape.

CBS4 News met 81-year-old Jerry Rosenstein through our Moving U campaign when his daughter wrote to us about his love for pickleball.

“I used to go to the gym to lift weights and use the machines,” said Rosenstein, a retired engineer. “Once I started playing pickleball that was all the exercise I needed.”

Jerry picked up the game several years ago after a visit to Arizona. When he returned home, he discovered that his Broward County community did not have a single public pickleball court. Jerry decided to take matters into his own hands, contacting City Hall and requesting public pickleball courts.

Mayor Christine Hunschofsky admits she had never heard of pickleball when the request was made.

“I thought it was a very odd name,” the mayor said.

What the mayor did not know is that pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. The sport is reportedly called pickleball because the inventor’s dog was named Pickles and the ball used to play the game belonged to the dog.

Six months after Jerry’s request, the city came through. The Parks and Recreation Department converted two tennis courts at Terramar Park into four pickleball courts. The courts have become popular among pickleball players of all ages, especially senior citizens who enjoy games under the lights several nights a week.

Mayor Hunschofsky has learned a lot about pickleball since Jerry made his request to the city. The mayor has even picked up a paddle to take a few swings herself. “It’s really a great activity. It gets people of all ages together and it’s a great way to meet new people,” the mayor said.

CBS4 News Anchor Eliott Rodriguez, who describes himself as an average tennis player, joined Jerry Rosenstein and his friends Joe Kupferberg and Mario Porras for a game of doubles. After a slow start, Eliott was able to pick up the sport. He and Jerry won their match, and Eliott agreed that pickleball is addictive.

“Once you play the sport you want to come back,” Jerry said. “It’s easy to get hooked on pickleball.”

Click here for more information on pickleball and where you can play in South Florida.

Remember, CBS4 wants to know what’s Moving U. Email your story to movingu@cbsmiami.com and let us know what you’re doing to stay healthy and happy. Perhaps what moves you will inspire others as well!

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