Florida Man stops in Idaho to set new world record, A game of pickleball, in 48 states, in less than 48 days

Posted at 11:15 PM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-15 01:15:06-04

EAGLE, Idaho — The Eagle Tennis Club could soon be in the history books as it was host to Dean Matt, a man from Florida who is trying to become the first person in the world to play a game of pickleball in every state in the Lower 48 of the U.S., in less than 48 days.

Matt came through Idaho on Friday and played two games of pickleball in Eagle. And before the day was out, he flew himself to Salt Lake City to go play another game.

Matt, a pilot, has his own plane and flies to multiple states a day sometimes to get his record done.

Originally, the plan was to get done in 48 days but after he got through the big western states, he thinks he'll be able to knock it down in about 26.

Dean Matt Pickleball map

And he's doing all this for the love of the sport. Originally from the Chicago area, he moved to Florida to get into golf. But after he moved south, he discovered the sport that would soon fuel his ambition to break a world record.

“I’ve heard of pickleball up north but never really played it," Matt said. "They don’t play racketball in Florida, they play pickle ball and it’s our new love. So we’re out out the courts three or four times a week, playing pickle ball, making friends, getting a little exercise.”

Matt says he has learned nothing about pickleball during his journey, but he has learned a lot about America. He says the the people he has met have been so friendly and welcoming.

One of those people was Kevin Falk, who played with Matt on Friday. Falk is an adaptive sports athlete. He plays a bunch of different sports in a wheelchair. On Friday, he tried pickleball for the first time. He says it's important for people to get out and compete, regardless of their ability status.

"Just because somebody is paralyzed or has a disability, your life doesn’t stop," Falk said. "I just turned 63 and I’m more active than I was. I’ve been this way for 15 years and I realize no matter what our disability or whatever, we need to be active in life."

To follow along on Matt's journey, visit his website here.