Helen White has been active all her life.
She played tennis and basketball and even coached a soccer team,
but she says she reached the peak of her sporting career only recently,
playing a sport that she only discovered a few years ago.
When I was at my gym,I realized that there I saw these older people,
really all these older people,playing this ragged game on the court next to me,
and I was the only one playing shooting hoops,
and these people were all playing and having a great time.
So actually I went over them and asked them what is this game called, they called it pickleball.
And I said to myself thats a funny name and I kind of walked away,
but then I realized what youre in ... wow ... how old are your year... 70s and your 80s,
youre playing a game, youre having fun, youre socializing, so I want to be part of that.
White was so inspired.
She decided to take her love for sports to a new level,
and at almost 60 she got a masters degree in sports management.
I wanted to be an influencer in the world of sports, especially senior sports,
and it turns out that pickleball is where I have had the most influence as I had thought.
Pickleball is a peculiar mix of badminton,tennis and ping-pong.
2 or 4 players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials,
to hit a perforated ball over a net.
Its a paddle thats similar to a ping-pong paddle but its a dedicated pickleball paddle,
and then a ball that looks like a wiffle ball but its a dedicated pickleball ball,
and then you just need a net thats shorter than a tennis net and thats really all you need.
Since become a pickleball coach,
White has taught more than 3,000 people how to play this game, but she doesnt just teach.
She loves playing herself,
and has already taken part in multiple championships around the US and abroad,
having earned more than 50 medals.
On top of that,she serves as one of the organizers of the mid-Atlantic Open pickleball tournament,
that unites a modern 300 athletes of all ages.
All the money raised by the tournament that White organizes go to the Parkinson foundation.
For her, the choice was very personal.
Whites husband of 40 years was diagnosed with this disease 10 years ago.
He has found that exercise is the best medicine for him.
We did have to work a little bit on his balance before he got started,
but now hes rock solid,
and were all about promoting pickleball for people with Parkinsons diagnosed as well as other neurological diagnosis.
I started because how I started,
and so we are playing tournaments on the country.
There arent that many husband-and-wife teams for obvious reasons,
but Helen and I seem to get together, I mean, seem to be pretty good together.
White hopes to keep playing for many more years to come.
After all she gives elderly people much more than a fun way to spend their time.
She gives them the understanding that at any age you can be what you want to be.
Maxim Moskalkov for VOA news McLean Virginia