Where I Go: Praying to the Pickleball Gods

Making the Pilgrimage to Bainbridge Island Connects Fans to the Sport’s Origins and to One Another

Pickleball—an addictive mashup of tennis, badminton, and ping pong—is seemingly everywhere these days, and played by seemingly everyone.

There are now a whopping 4.8 million players in the U.S. (a number that’s almost doubled in the past five years), and professional competition is booming around the world. Broadcasters are televising pickleball matches. There are pickleball themed weddings, and celebrity endorsements, and lengthy think pieces about the sport showing up in prestigious magazines. In March, Washington governor Jay Inslee declared pickleball the official state sport.

The future of pickleball is lucrative. Its past, …