Pickleball: Bridging Political Divides in Congress

The Future of Pickleball in the Congressional Caucus

In the heart of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, a unique blend of politics and sports is taking shape. The Congressional Pickleball Caucus, a recently formed group, is making waves not just in the political arena but also in the world of sports. This caucus, which usually meets on Wednesday mornings, is more than just a gathering of politicians; it’s a testament to the unifying power of pickleball.

Pickleball: The Sport Bridging Political Divides

On a recent Tuesday morning, the Congressional Pickleball Caucus opened its doors to local pickleball professionals and enthusiasts. This wasn’t just another political meeting; it was an opportunity for lawmakers to engage with the community and discuss the future of this rapidly growing sport.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, emphasized the importance of these morning sessions. In the fast-paced world of politics, where days are long and often stressful, pickleball offers a much-needed respite. For Capito, the sport is more than just a game; it’s a way to connect with colleagues beyond political affiliations and to foster genuine relationships.

Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina echoed this sentiment. In an era where political divisions run deep, opportunities for genuine interactions are rare. Pickleball, according to Tillis, offers a chance for healthy competition outside the realm of ideological battles.

A Meeting of Minds and Talents

The recent session saw Senators Capito, Tillis, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cynthia Lummis, and Representative Sara Jacobs team up with professionals from the D.C. Pickleball Team. This wasn’t just a casual game; it was a chance for lawmakers to learn from the best. Capito, for instance, received valuable advice on her serve from pro player Riley Newman.

The adaptability of pickleball was evident as seasoned players like Capito and newcomers like Lummis showcased their skills. The sport’s accessibility and appeal to all age groups have been instrumental in its growth.

Representative Jacobs shared a personal anecdote, highlighting how pickleball became a family affair during the pandemic. The sport allowed her to bond with her family outdoors, adhering to safety protocols. The competitive spirit, it seems, runs deep in the Jacobs family, with even family matches turning into intense battles.

The Future of Pickleball in the Congressional Caucus

The Congressional Pickleball Caucus is not just about playing the game; it’s about elevating it. Plans are underway to enhance the playing experience. Senator Tillis mentioned discussions with the Senate Rules Committee to upgrade the multipurpose court they use. The aim is to replace the current makeshift markings with permanent ones, ensuring a better playing experience.


The rise of the Congressional Pickleball Caucus is a testament to the sport’s unifying power. In a world where divisions are the norm, pickleball is bridging gaps and fostering genuine connections. Whether it’s the competitive spirit of the game, the chance to learn from professionals, or the opportunity to bond with family and colleagues, pickleball is proving to be a game-changer in more ways than one. As the sport continues to grow, one can only hope that its spirit of unity and camaraderie permeates other spheres of life, including the world of politics.

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