As pickleball becomes increasingly popular in North Texas, several companies have begun providing courts to their employees.
In American Airlines’ upcoming expansion in Fort Worth, pickleball courts will be landing for staffers to make use of, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Southwest Airlines has also built courts for their employees, several of whom recently shared their experience with the sport.
Dispatcher Dave Malin started the pickleball tradition with his coworkers after learning the game from his brother.
Malin said he and his teammates were having a hard time finding enough courts to play on, so he asked Southwest to build three pickleball courts where there used to be an old basketball court. Southwest employees believe the new addition to be a community-building endeavor.
Vice President of Facilities John Zuzu explained, “we recently had the opportunity to incorporate Employees’ requests to enhance campus. We converted a basketball court into three pickleball courts – a growing request by Employees over the past few years.”
“Our Employees work hard, so having a few outdoor spaces (basketball, volleyball, and now pickleball courts) available on campus is a win-win,” Zuzu continued.
Outside of the corporate world, the sport of pickleball is taking off as well.
USA Pickleball’s Midsouth Regional Director Jason Otts attested to the sport’s growing popularity. To describe the game he said, “It’s like tennis, ping pong, and badminton all got together and formed pickleball.”
For those who may be unaware, the game requires wooden paddles, a plastic whiffle ball, and a net. Otts said the sport lends itself to newcomers, as you can pick it up very quickly. The game’s popularity went up by 40% this past year.
The game originated in 1965 and held a relatively low profile until roughly 2014 to 2016, when it overtook racquetball in popularity, and in 2021 when it surpassed table tennis.
Pickleball has become a community builder, as courts are being installed in cities, churches, and fire departments.
Otts said the game “allows us to kind of feel like a kid again.”
For Dallas residents interested in playing pickleball, there are a number of clubs that have recently opened up across the DFW metroplex, which provide a variety of opportunities to pick up the sport and play.