MACON, Ga. — Pickleball is growing in popularity here in Central Georgia with more courts coming in, tournaments planned, and we've even got players traveling and winning medals.
In fact, a couple of Macon men just got back from competing in Alabama for a spot in a national championship tournament in California.
Joe McDaniel and Greg Spicer have been playing pickleball at the Tattnall Square Pickleball & Tennis Center almost every day.
Now, they're winning gold, representing Macon nationally.
Joe McDaniel fell in love with pickleball about five years ago.
"I just wanted something else instead of walking and lifting," said McDaniel.
About three years ago, Joe introduced Greg Spicer to the sport.
Spicer said, "Just like Joe, I played for five minutes and I knew I found the sport I had been looking for my whole life."
Now, the two of them are competing at high levels, bringing home gold from out of state.
"It's fantastic! You know what's at stake, so when you win that final point, man, it's a relief," Spicer.
They actually just got back from Hoover, Alabama, where they competed in the 2021 National Indoor Championship.
"To be 75 years old and be able to play competitively with people my age, as well as people who are younger, it's kind of surreal to me," said McDaniel.
Joe won gold in the senior men's double 75 all skill levels division, and Greg won gold in both the 4.0 60s singles and in mixed doubles!
Macon pickleball players represent Central Georgia nationally at tournament
So now, they both qualify for the December 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships in California at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"I can compete at a high level, I can make new friends. It's just a 'win-win' for me!" said McDaniel.
Until then, they'll be hitting, running, and yelling with their friends here in Macon.
"Many times on the court, not once, many times, all time you play, all four people on the court are going to scream, 'YEAH!'" said Spicer.
Now both Joe and Greg are also involved in the Macon pickleball club and the Macon Pickleball Association.
Another Macon Pickleball player, Jason Bradshaw actually won gold and silver with them, too, making for four gold tickets punch for California.
If you want to play with them, you can play at Tattnall Square Pickleball & Tennis Center for $2 during the day or $3 at night.