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The pickleball pickle: America's fastest-growing sport divides communities

Laura Patterson dives for the ball during a pickleball game at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. (Andrea Mabry/Invision for Humana/AP Images)
Laura Patterson dives for the ball during a pickleball game at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. (Andrea Mabry/Invision for Humana/AP Images)

So you head to your local tennis courts and what do you expect to find? More and more, you might find people playing pickleball.

Described as a cross between ping pong and tennis, and it’s now the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. But with growth comes growing pains.

Pickleball has become surprisingly divisive — leading to noise complaints, resentment from tennis enthusiasts, and cutthroat competition between rival professional leagues.

Host Celeste Headlee speaks with John Walters, who wrote about this Wild West of pickleball for Sports Illustrated.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.