MILTON — Suzanne Fruge has played pickleball four and a half years.
"It's kind of like ping pong, but you're standing on the table," she said.
Players use a solid wooden paddle on a marked out area the size of a badminton court. There is a net about the size of a tennis court net in the middle and they hit a plastic wiffle ball back and forth until someone fails to return the ball.
Eleven points is the goal, but to win teams have to be ahead by two points, best two out of three. A team can only score when it's the team's turn to serve the ball. The game is popular with all age groups but to play pickleball at the Milton community center, players have to be at least 40 years old.
That is just how it was set up here in Milton, according to Fruge. Several years ago, a group of retirees decided to play and formed a group. They started playing during the week days because they were all retired.
The United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) is available to find places to play, tournaments, training and so on. Fruge said there was a couple traveling the country out of Georgia that stopped in Milton. They looked up the local pickleball places to play from the USAPA website and played several games before leaving. For more information go to www.usapa.org.
The Milton group plays every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Guy Thompson Community Center from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. They reserve Wednesdays for beginners at the community center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Friday players usually go to lunch after the games. There is no charge to play.
Fruge said there is a popular tournament in Destin twice a year. It brings in almost 100 players from nine states. Fruge and her pickleball partner Donna Korando have won the gold medal in their age group at that tournament.
"It can get very competitive," says Fruge. "If you find you're up against someone that isn't at your level, remember the three rules of pickleball - burn at least one calorie, socialize and have a good time."