Two people sitting on a pickleball court
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Mixed doubles pickleball is the ultimate date night activity

DALLAS, TX – As I continue to collect all kinds of stories from my pickleball dating experiences, there was one particular player with whom I decided it was time to level up.

By that, I mean play a mixed doubles match.

He and I have only ever played singles, and he let me win on our first date. But every time we’ve played since, our points were a little bit closer. He even beat me a couple of times (but for my ego, we’ll say I let him win those), though he clearly still went easy on me. 

As our pickleball relationship continues to develop, though, I decided we needed to move things along and transition to doubles, specifically mixed doubles.

Look, I have to assess this guy and see if he’s the right doubles partner on and off the court. I’ve been preaching this for a while now: pickleball reveals a lot about a person’s character, and mixed doubles is a perfect setting to learn more about someone. 

Will he be a ball hog? Is he going to be supportive? Is his competitiveness going to completely spoil the fun of the game? It’s just rec play – we’re not up against Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns on Championship Sunday. It’s the local park in suburbia with Emily and Justin. It’s not that serious. 

The second my date showed up with one of those blue Selkirk bags that the pros use, I knew this was either going to go very well or very, very poorly. Either he’s very good and has the proper gear to prove it, or he’s a total poser.

I assumed the former, but you never really know. 

I had my cute, yet wonderfully functional ROKNE paddle, and he brought out three Engage paddles, spinning them around in his hands like he couldn’t decide which one to play with. 

If we were playing singles, that kind of behavior would’ve properly scared me. This guy clearly takes pickleball seriously, and if he’s my opponent, I’m doomed. 

But now that he’s my partner, I love it. He’s going to carry us to greatness and I will simply be there for support with the occasional trick shot that’s more based off luck than skill. 

Let’s play. 

Only a few points in and it was unbelievably encouraging to discover he wasn't a ball hog at all, nor was he overly competitive. In fact, it was such a green flag to see how easily he and I fell into a natural rhythm together.

Having never played mixed doubles with this guy, we played extremely well. And isn’t that a nice metaphor for relationships, too? Good on-court communication is good insight into sound communication off the court. 

We ended up winning the majority of the games, but the real victory was another successful pickleball date. 

Could this be my permanent doubles partner?