Ex-Penn State Nittany Lions, Jordan Hill, and Michael Mauti, engaged in a thrilling pickleball match at the Country Club of Harrisburg after deciding to switch gears from the football field to the pickleball court.
They joined forces with aviator and pickleball enthusiast Dean Matt from Sarasota, FL. Matt is on a mission to establish a world record by playing pickleball in all 48 contiguous states within 48 days. Don’t forget to read the great article we recently published telling you all about this spectacular event.
Sixty-three-year-old Dean Matt of Sarasota is a pilot and pickleball addict. He’s hoping to set a Guinness Book record by playing 48 games, in the 48 contiguous states, in one month’s time. https://t.co/H958eRXLFm— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) May 16, 2023
Having already completed 34 legs of his journey, the Harrisburg stop was a significant milestone for Matt as it marked the beginning of the final third of his quest. He arrived at the Capital City Airport in Fairview Township aboard his trusty Cessna Turbo 206, played his game, and then was onto his next appointment: a 5 p.m. match in Albany, NY.
He said: “I’ve flown in most of the states before. I just wanted to do a continuous loop,”
During his journey, Matt has garnered the support of multiple sponsors for his tour, which is set to conclude on May 26 in University Park, FL.
It comes as no surprise that Matt has made pickleball as his sport of choice. Over the past few years, the game has experienced a surge in popularity, with approximately 38 million people participating last year.
As for Hill, a former NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks and the head football coach at Trinity High School, today’s match was his debut on the pickleball court, but it’s likely not his last venture into the sport if his comments are anything to go by:
“Once you learn the game and the rules a little bit, the competitive juices come out,”
Also seizing the opportunity to compete, Mauti, Trinity High School’s assistant football coach and a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, eagerly embraced the challenge. He said:
“When Jordan mentioned pickleball, I said I love pickleball, let’s do it,”
Ultimately, Mauti and his teammate Kurt Lampke from Indiana emerged victorious in a closely contested match brimming with playful banter and camaraderie.
Valuable Insights And Knowledge
Matt, the mastermind behind the route, took the initiative to connect with local visitor bureaus such as Visit Hershey Harrisburg to help coordinate certain matches. Along his journey, he has gained valuable insights and knowledge about the sport, further enhancing his understanding and appreciation for pickleball.
“There really doesn’t need to be a lot of awareness about pickleball. That was my fear at first – do they play pickleball in North Dakota, for instance? And they do. A lot of local communities are proud of their new courts,”
At times, it sounds like the challenge is just an excuse to get out there and have the opportunity to play pickleball all around the U.S:
“Pickleball is probably just a reason to go fly around the country, the way I look at it,” he said.
Follow the tour and find out more about it on Matt’s website.
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