Someone You Should Know: Fueling the fire through Pickleball

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – The sport of Pickleball is becoming more popular for all ages and a Sioux Falls woman is making a name for herself in the game. We think she’s Someone You Should Know.

Lexie Erickson is a former college athlete who wanted to keep competing in something.

"Well after I graduated college I played volleyball and softball so I didn't really have anything to do. So, my parents introduced me to Pickleball and like you can play this forever, so I was like ‘I don't know about that, a lot of older people play it’ but once I got into it, I'm hooked. I never played tennis or anything, I never played a racquet sport but it's so much fun,” says Lexie.

"It does have a stereotype of being a sport for older people and it did kind of start like that but quite frankly it's been the largest growing sport in the country for the past 10 or 12 years and the demographics are changing," says Sioux Falls Area Pickleball President Larry Plucker.

Three years ago, Lexie started playing Pickleball. The Minnesota native and ICU nurse improves her skills in open play times like these at the Sanford pentagon.

"Being a nurse helps, the schedule is really nice. I only work three days a week so I have that time to come here in the morning and play or at night. I do our ladder league every Monday night, so I try to play whenever I can and whenever I have a weekend off from work I try and travel somewhere,” says Lexie.

Lexie has been traveling to Pickleball tournaments all over the country.

"I’ve been to California, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and anywhere."

Recently, she won her biggest tournament as part of a doubles team.
"In November, I won nationals in my division, 19 plus 4.0, my partner was from Canada and I'm actually going up to Canada for their nationals in June."

Lexie says the goal now is to keep getting better to the point where some money starts coming in.

"I’d love to be sponsored someday and they help pay for stuff. Tournaments entry fees aren't cheap, let alone flights and hotels, so they would help you out with that once you are good enough but I hope to get there someday."

"There's a lot of Pickleball players out there that are sponsored by club manufacturers, ball manufacturers, and some are actually making a living doing it. So, it's something that younger people can aspire to,” says Plucker.

For Lexie, it's an aspiration to be the best and fuel that competitive drive in something that's still fairly new.