MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Lifelong tennis player turned "Pickleballer" Rena Grant turned her love for the racket into a five-days-a-week obsession.
"Most every time when you mention Pickleball to someone, they'll turn up your nose," said Rena Grant, Pickleball Ambassador of Myrtle Beach. "What is 'Pickleball' and so you have to explain to them what Pickleball is."
Pickleball is a growing sport on the Grand Strand that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis.
According to the USA Pickleball Association website, pickleball was created in 1965 near Seattle as a backyard game for all ages.
The USAPA estimates there are now over 100,000 players actively playing Pickleball, and the Pickleball Ambassador for Myrtle Beach, Grant, is determined to add to that number one person at a time.
The 90 year old travels to local schools to promote the game and has seen participation at Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium jump from just a few people, to a weekly average of 40-50 people per session.
"Teaching people how to play Pickleball, that's the job of an ambassador, because all you have to do to teach a person how to play, give them a paddle, and they will be back the next day to play again, because they just love it, and the good part about Pickleball, and one reason I like to keep going with it is the fact that it's great, great for seniors," Grand said.
Grant says that after teaching the Director of the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, John McDonald, how to play, he was won over and plans to add Pickleball courts to the sports center in 2016.