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Great State: Sweet on Pickleball

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Picture a basketball court in your mind. Then picture the sound a basketball makes on a hardwood floor.

Now put that sound out of your head because it's completely different from the sound of this basketball court in OKC on a Tuesday morning.

The paddles look better suited to ping-pong, the nets for tennis, but they're all part of the game of Pickleball.

Its detractors, and even a few of its participants, joke around by calling it tennis for old people.

Oklahomas' official Pickleball ambassador returns that wicked slice with a mere flick of her wrist. "We want to promote the sport as something for the 'active aging," says Vicki Noakes.

Vicki started playing about 4 years ago when she tired of chasing tennis balls around.

Over the past couple of years Pickleball has picked up in central Oklahoma, brought here by 'snowbirds' who played in Arizona and New Mexico.

There are 80 local members now. Many of them meet at the Quail Springs Baptist Church a few times a week to hit it around and have some fun.

Noakes says, "Our job is to promote the sport in our city and wherever we go so what we're trying to do is find more people to play and more places to play."

Griff Henderson never played before he stepped onto the Pickleball court as we watched. He played some tennis which helped.

Before long he was an ambassador too, but with no official title. "It's a great sport," he says. "Much like tennis and ping-pong. It's a lot of fun."

Take every racquet sport and then play with a whiffle ball that a certain dog named Pickles used to chase around when the sport was first born.

Put them all together and you've got Pickleball, a growing sport with a whole roomful of ambassadors in OKC.

For more information about Pickleball and where to play locally, follow these links.

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