Five people worked to assemble a tennis court-like net in the Destin Community Center gym on Monday afternoon.
The group was setting up to play pickleball, which is now one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the country, according to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).
"You can play pickleball from ages 8 to 80," said Terry Cox. "We play with people who are 70 to 80 years-old and these guys and gals will run you all over the court."
Terry and his wife, Valen, are avid pickleball players from Arizona. They vacation in Destin each year and seek out opportunities to play pickleball wherever they go.
"A lot of communities are switching out tennis courts to make them into pickleball courts. It’s great exercise," Cox said.
Valen has lost between 50 and 60 pounds from playing pickleball alone.
The game is very similar to tennis; it's played with a square-shaped ping-pong paddle and a plastic whiffle ball on a smaller court with a shorter net.
As for the unique name, the sport’s founder Joel Pritchard, who was a congressman from Washington back in 1965, affectionately called the game pickleball after his cocker spaniel named "Pickles."
"I was one of the original pickeball players here," said Dennis Debroka, who splits his time between Michigan and Destin. "We started playing in Destin about 10 years ago with a handful of people and now you have to call ahead because there’s like 24 people playing."
The game is fun and fast-paced with a key strategy being ball placement.
"Golf is a life sport, but so is pickleball. It’s for everyone," said Terry. "Sometimes you play with people who you think can barely move, and then they beat you. You never know what to expect."