What started as a niche sport largely played in RV parks, is spreading throughout America and one resident is hoping Carlsbad, Calif., will jump on the bandwagon, The Coast News reported.

Alex Hamner has been playing pickleball for five years and has won four gold medals in women’s doubles at the Pickleball National Tournament.

She was introduced to the sport by her tennis partner, Jennifer Lucore, whose parents picked it up in an RV park and competed in the first national pickleball championship.

According to Hamner, the sport was invented on Bainbridge Island, Wash., which is just a short ferry ride away from Seattle, nearly 50 years ago. People from Washington took the sport with them during their summer RV trips and it caught on among retirees.

She said the sport is popular among retirees because the pace is a bit slower than tennis and there is less ground to cover.

Hamner was once an avid tennis player but picked up pickleball and hasn’t looked back since. Just seven weeks after starting the sport, she and Lucore went to nationals.

Hamner and Lucore play at the pickleball courts in Oceanside but they, along with other pickleballers in the area, are hoping to get courts in Carlsbad.

They’ve attended city council and Parks and Recreation Department meetings to raise awareness of the sport and to ask that pickleball courts be incorporated into the Master Plans of Pine Avenue, Poinsettia or Aviara community parks.

Commissioners on the Parks and Recreation board said there wasn’t a feasible option for courts at those parks but there is a possibility of converting the two tennis courts at Laguna Riviera City Park into pickleball courts.

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