Is Pickleball a Religion?

September 21, 2022

Is Pickleball a Religion?

May 29, 2023

That’s the question I asked myself after being bowled over by MEA VP of Admissions Christa “Cricket” King’s enthusiasm for her newfound sport.

She even wanted to place large ads for MEA at her pickleball club in Bend, Oregon. What was I missing as I’d never picked up a pickleball racket?

Having just added a bocce ball court to the MEA Baja campus, I wanted to do some further exploration. I offered a poll for our MEA Facebook private group and mentioned that we were considering putting in pickleball courts at one of our future MEA campuses. I wanted to see if people thought this was a good or a bad idea. 80% of you gave it a thumbs up, with 10% being neutral and 10% considering it a sport that was noisy and dangerous for old farts.

Then, I started noticing all of the articles about the sport, including this Washington Post article, "Pickleball raises our social capital. That’s what America needs." The population of "picklers" has doubled in size in the past eight years, making this the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. Unlike biking, running, or swimming, you can’t play pickleball alone. And, unlike golfing, tennis, or basketball, just about anyone can play. It’s an easy game to pick up at just about any age. And thus, the diverse community and social capital that arises around a pickleball court are unusual and encouraging. It’s ironic that something as pop culture as pickleball might be the solution to cultural polarization.

So, for the record, the answer is yes. One of the two upcoming MEA campuses in Santa Fe will have pickleball courts. Let the cultural polarization cease. :).

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