TOLEDO, Ohio — Pickleball is the fast growing sports craze taking the world by storm, and on Friday the three-day American Pickleball Tour (APT) kicked off in downtown Toledo at the Glass City Center after a two-year break from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're roaring back, we're excited to be out here. This is our first stop on the tour. We have several other locations in '22 and in 2023 we have 14 locations we're going to nationwide," said APT Director Aaron DelMar.
He said 150 players of all different ages, skills and backgrounds signed up to take part in the games inside the convention center this weekend.
"It doesn't have a lot of impact on your body, it keeps that blood flowing and it's really fun to play," said DelMar.
Kyra Fleming says the sport is almost like ping-pong. She played with her daughter and daughter's boyfriend in the tournament both of whom are 21-years-old. Fleming even plays pickleball with her own 75-year-old parents.
"We can all play together and it's really fun and that's what I really like about this sport," said Fleming.
Husband and wife players Chuck and Carrie Broshious said they were apprehensive to play two years ago, but now they play four to five times a week, and not just for the exercise.
"It's good comradery. It really is. We've met some good friends. We met some people we've never talked to before. We met them and now we go out and eat," said Chuck.
Another pickleball couple, physicians Dan Mannion and Shani Peter, said pickleball is a hot topic in their residency program in Ann Arbor. They said it is also a lot easier to handle.
"I wish I could I could play pickleball 80 hours a week, but I can't," said Mannion.
Peter said it is great health wise too.
"Yeah, same. Residency is a thousand times harder, but pickleball is a good segue to kind of improve our mental health and our physical health as well," she said.
If you are interested in what pickleball is all about the tournament is free to watch and continues at 8 a.m. on Sunday at the Glass City Center in downtown.
Organizers are already planning on bringing the event back to Toledo in June 2023.