PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Lyndell Senior Center hosted a pickleball tournament on Saturday morning with all proceeds going to the Gulf World Marine Institute.
Dozens of teams signed up for the two day event, and Tournament Director Bill Caravello says pickleball is becoming very popular.
“It’s the fastest growing sport in the country,” Caravello said. “There’s over four million people who play pickleball, it’s international, there’s a USAPA, which is the domestic sports authority, and then you have the international, IFP, which is worldwide.”
Members of the Gulf World Marine Institute were at the Lyndell Center to spread awarness of their rehabilitation program, and Standing Coordinator Lauren Albrittain says it was a great experience.
“Any type of even that can get the community out on ways that they’re passionate, to connect them to people who have other passions is important,” Albrittain said. “So we’re passionate about the rescue and rehab work that we do, and a lot of us have never heard of pickleball.
“So coming out here to watch all of these very passionate pickleball players, and to teach them a little about what we do, it’s kind of nice just to connect those two different passions, and it’s something that I think we hope will grow in the future.”
Attendance was high for the tournament, and Caravello says the Lyndell Center plans to make pickleball a staple at their facilities.
“This is our first attempt at it, Caravello said. “Last year they put the other two courts in, so now we have four courts here. We’re hoping to get more in the future so we can expand it to a larger group.”