Pickleball, Tai Chi, and World Extreme Pencil Fighting? Exploring Sports on the Rise
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, and for one good reason: that 77-million-person wave of boomers headed into their 60s and beyond. Pickleball is what you play when your knees and shoulders start saying "no" to tennis. We talk about the game and its sudden surge.
That got us thinking about the recent piece by Simon Doonan of Slate, who wrote about his sudden interest in tai chi. "Sixty seems to be the dividing line," he wrote. "Everybody over this age is tai-curious." I happen to be hitting that age later this year. I've switched from basketball and soccer to biking and kayaking and yoga, but yeah, I've got my eye on tai chi and pickleball.
Tai Chi is ancient. Pickleball was dreamed up a couple decades ago. So our final segment today will be on other new sports, like World Extreme Pencil Fighting and Flaming Tetherball.
WNPR intern Karie Peikes hit the street to ask people what sports they considered "weird":
What do you think? Comment below, email Colin@wnpr.org, or tweet @wnprcolin.
- Joe Valenti of Rochester, New York, is a nationally-ranked pickleball player and President of the Valenti Sports Pickleball Club, which has over 660 players
- Robert Kwalick of Litchfield, Connecticut is a long-term practitioner of Yang style tai chi. He teaches a weekly community class at Charym Yoga and Fitness Studio in Litchfield
- Sol Neelman is a photographer and author of the photo books “Weird Sports” and the upcoming “Weird Sports 2”
- Brandy Rettig is an extreme pencil fighter, and competed in roller derby under the name, “Rettig to Rumble”