Photo by Amani Sodiq.

From a backyard pastime to the fastest-growing sport in America, pickleball has taken the world by storm. It has most recently invaded LHHS, prompting the birth of the Lake Highlands Pickleball Club.

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Like many players, Pickleball Club founder and LHHS junior, Katie Threadgill “discovered [pickleball] with [her] family when [they] were trying to find something new.”

But people try new things all the time. So, what makes pickleball so special, and why is it so popular?

The 58-year-old pastime’s popularity is due in large part to its appeal to all skill levels, its opportunity for social interaction and its massive benefits to “picklers” mental and physical health.

“[I like] that everyone can play,” Threadgill says. “You don’t have to be really good to enjoy it. It is also a great way to meet new people.”

Pickleball Club meetings give students a refreshing break and allow people to connect with other students outside of a school setting.

The Lake Highlands Pickleball Club began last year when Threadgill and a friend wanted to share the fun of the sport with other students by starting a club sponsored by Sunny Carroum, a math teacher at LHHS.

“I wanted to be the sponsor because I enjoy the sport and think the students of LHHS would also enjoy playing,” Carroum says.

And many students do enjoy playing.

The Pickleball Club hosted an open-tournament in October, with 24 teams of two competing to win on a fun, pickleball-filled day. Their biweekly meetings on the first and third Wednesdays of the month tend to fill up the rec center courts across from the stadium with 10-15 people showing up to play and hangout.

“Students should join the pickleball club because it is a way to socialize with lots of different people at Lake Highlands,” Threadgill says. “It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy what’s around us, and it’s really easy to pick up on and have fun. Moving forward we definitely would love to expand and encourage more people to join and have this club be inviting to all.”

One club member suggested expanding into the community and allowing the people of Lake Highlands to play whether that be parents or just anyone in the community.