Pickleball's popularity is soaring in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/17/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

THREE LAKES - "I said what the heck is pickleball, and he said come on, I'll show you," exclaimed Melody West of the Eagle River Pickleball Association.

The sound of pickleball's connecting with paddles can be heard every day of the week in Three Lakes.

Gillian Hough and Candy Lamb of Summerfield, Florida explain, "It's kind of a combination of ping pong, and badminton or tennis."

Three Lakes pickleball promoter Chuck Radtke added, "The court is smaller than a tennis court. It's easy on the knees, easy on the ankles."

The sport has a huge following in Florida and Arizona, but people in the Northwoods are catching on quickly.

"In Three Lakes we play more pickleball than anywhere else in the state. Our courts are open 24/7 and it's free for all," said Radtke.

Three Lakes hosted 120 players in their first national tournament last weekend.

John Kobach of Three Lakes was pleased with the event. Kobach said, "Two healthy days of healthy exercise and having fun and being competitive with each other."

The game is most popular in retirement communities, but local schools are starting to get the younger generation involved.

"They are teaching it in the high school system in both Eagle River and Three Lakes as part of the racquet sport curriculum," explains Kobach.

Most importantly, it helps get people off the couch.

"They say move it or lose it. So we'll keep moving as long as we can," exclaimed Gillian and Candy.

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