Pickleball at the mall? Sounds like a good time for all

Pickleball at the mall? Sounds like a good time for all

Are you sick of the Johnny-come-lately groups at your tennis court playing a game that sounds like batting practice? Fear not, local American malls are working on getting those people into proper courts that are being built where the Home Depot-sized Old Navy was once located.

The mall experience has changed in America over the last 20 years. No longer is a trip to JCPenny necessary to get the kids new Easter clothes or flipping through the CDs at Sam Goody the only way to get new music for the car. Combine that with teenagers no longer using that space as a live-action Tinder, and it’s clear that the mall’s standing in American life has been in free fall.

Pickleball America has presented a solution for Woodfield, Lennox, Fox Hills, and any other mall that needs a jolt of energy — pickleball courts. The sport is the fastest growing in America, but there aren’t that many places to play. A tennis court will do, but there is a reason that nearly all MLB teams no longer play in football stadiums. Specific sports need specific venues.

One of the most massive new pickleball courts will be built at the Stamford Town Center in Stamford, Connecticut. What used to be a two-story Saks on Fifth will eventually be an 80,000-square-foot pickleball court. Pickleball America is also working on facilities in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and other places across the country.

It’s like high school all over again, except you have bills now

As one of the OG pickleball players from a high-school lifetime activities P.E. class in the mid-aughts, seeing the sport’s rapid growth has been a hilarious surprise. I took the course because, for a third of the semester, the sport of focus was bowling. Not only did we get to take the bus to the bowling alley every day, but Chicagoland traffic gave us permission to be 10 minutes late for our next class.

It was whispered in the hallways by those who took the class before me that the pickleball unit was a blast. Then one day in the small gym, the teacher handed us plastic rackets and a dense ball. It wasn’t as fun as goofing around on the bus and missing class, but it did get competitive and led to some great trash talk.

With pickleball blowing up like Beanie Babies, and Amazon becoming the mall for the world, it’s a worthy option for physical malls to use as an attempt to stay relevant. A person can gather a few friends to play at the courts for a couple of hours, then they all grab a slice of Sbarro, and a Mrs. Fields cookie for old time’s sake. They may still try on an outfit at Macy’s and then buy it cheaper from Amazon later, but at least the mall is being patronized.

For you pickleballers out there, if you’re still into the sport in 2024 go check out one of these mall courts. A little pickleball and a Cinnabon sounds like quite the pleasant Saturday afternoon, and you will be sparing the tennis players of your infernal racket.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.