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Meet the grandma who “whupped” two NFL stars at pickleball


Nat | @ravioli_wizard | Twitter

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/30/22

Three Pittsburgh Steelers players met their match when they headed to a local court for a fun pick-up game!

Three Pittsburgh Steelers players met their match when they headed to a pickleball court for a fun pick-up game. 

The story of how a Pittsburgh grandma “whupped” T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith went viral after her daughter shared the story on Twitter

Steelers linebacker Watt was enjoying some friendly pickleball competition with teammate Highsmith and another friend, Minkah Fitzpatrick. They played singles with each other for a while, but then found another person to play doubles. 

A local Pittsburgh woman named Meg Burkardt joined in, and it turned out she could more than hold her own!

After the game, she texted a photo to her family along with this caption:

“So I rolled up to north park tonight to jump in a pick-up pickleball game. Started playing with these guys. Had no idea who they were. Last game the guy in the green shirt and I whooped the other two. Then everyone else there wanted to take our photo …”

Her daughter shared a screenshot of the conversation with the caption, “My mom whooped (sic) some Steelers in pickleball today lol”.

The football players enjoyed playing Burkardt, and had lots of respect for her pickleball skills. Watt shared the image on Twitter too, writing, “Meg was serving the HEAT. We had trouble all day.” 

Meanwhile, Burkardt said, “I’m pretty excited to say for the rest of my life … I beat them at pickleball.”

We can only imagine how much pickleball Burkardt has played to be so good at it! It’s not every day an ordinary person bests professionals in an athletic competition. 

This delightful news story makes us think of the benefits of exercise, which is such a great way to strengthen the mind, body, and soul

And who knows, you just might find yourself facing some pro athletes in a pick-up game someday. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

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