Our homegrown athletes may not ski, snowboard, or participate in the wonder of Olympic curling events, but a few do play in an odd and growing sport. It's called Pickleball.
Nicole Butler met up with a team in Macon on how they're going for gold against the competition!
"I said, 'What's the name of this game?'" Macon Pickleball Ambassador Joe McDaniel says.
It's a game called Pickleball!
"Maybe the dumbest name ever," he says.
But don't let the name fool you.
Pickleball is quickly becoming a big dill, considered one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
The best way to describe it -- pretty much a hybrid between tennis, badminton, and ping pong.
"I will warn them ahead of time, 'Don't come out here unless you are expecting to get hooked by the game.' I mean, it is almost addictive," McDaniel laughs.
McDaniel says don't believe him? The ball's in your court to take a swing at it.
"It's just a sport you will enjoy playing from the first time you swing the paddle," he says.
And that's how Golden Olympian Nancy Owens got hooked.
Dominating the court, she says it doesn't take long to get the hang of it!
"Everybody enjoys winning, and it's so fun whenever you get a point, even if it's just a small dink over the net or if you're driving the ball, it is just exhilarating," Owens laughs.
Her favorite part?
"Volleying -- whenever you start just knocking that ball back and forth across the net, I mean, it's so fast and so quick," she says.
Competing in the Golden Olympics, she says she's got her eyes on the prize and hopes to bring home the gold.
But she already feels like a winner, introducing as many people as she can to the sport.
From young children to much older adults, pickleball doesn't discriminate when it comes to fun!
"I think I've found the game that I'm going to ride into the sunset," McDaniel says.
And while they may never stand on the Olympic podium, pickleball feels as American as the stars and stripes.
Macon's pickleball ambassador says the game has bounced into the hearts of over 150 people in their league.
If you would like to take a swing at pickleball, come on out to John Drew Smith Tennis Center. They meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. or you can find them on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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