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, …

Why Are Our Sports Stadiums Becoming More Like Roman Amphitheaters? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Are Our Sports Stadiums Becoming More Like Roman Amphitheaters?

Today’s Shift to Status-Based Seating Is an Unwelcome Return to the Rigid Social Divides of an Imperial Age

More than 230 amphitheaters, among the largest and most memorable monuments left to us by the Romans, survive in cities from northern England to the banks of the Jordan River. …

Where I Go: At the Ice Rink, My Feet End in Knives

An Adult Figure Skater Pivots Past Gendered, Classist, Racist Norms

When 25-year-old Mariah Bell competed in Beijing yesterday, she made history as the oldest U.S. women’s national champion in 95 years to step foot on Olympic ice. But “advanced age” …

What Women Athletes Won When Title IX Became Law | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Women Athletes Won When Title IX Became Law

This Landmark Legislation Has Evened the Playing Field for 49 Years—In Fits and Starts

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 decreed, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits …

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball

World War II Veterans Popularized the Sport—And Changed the Game for the Disability Rights Movement

On an unremarkable Wednesday evening in the spring of 1948, 15,561 spectators flocked to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch two teams of World War II veterans play an …

Building an NBA Team to Lose | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Building an NBA Team to Lose

The 76ers Sacrificed the Present for the Future, but Was ‘the Process’ Worth the Price?

Last February, while in Boston for MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, I found myself sitting at a bar table alongside Sam Hinkie, the former general manager of the NBA’s Philadelphia …