Today you meet Chris Clark, the dynamic founder of Toss and Spin, an events company that breaks down barriers, making racquet and paddle sports available to all.
After a 9-year tenure in the corporate world, a furlough during the pandemic became the catalyst for Chris to take a different path. His lifelong passion for racket sports culminated in the creation of Toss and Spin, which began as a tennis-centric venture and soon expanded to include pickleball.
Pickleball Rookie: Introduce yourself. Please include a bit about your pickleball journey.
Chris Clark: My name is Chris Clark and I’m the CEO and founder of Toss and Spin. I spent 9 years in corporate and decided not to go back after being furloughed during the pandemic. I started Toss and Spin as a tennis company, but quickly evolved into tennis and pickleball. Currently, we are based in Chicago but doing events nationwide.
PR: Tell us about the very first time you heard the term “pickleball.”
CC: It was 2017. I was working for Wilson at the time and did a pickleball photoshoot; I had an amazing time playing.
PR: What were your initial thoughts when you played pickleball for the first time? How often do you currently play?
CC: It wasn’t until 2020 when playing with my mom that I realized this sport is going to be a monster. It’s so easy to play and a great way to connect with people.
PR: What was the motivation for starting Toss & Spin?
CC: Racket sports, in my opinion, are stuffy. I wanted to create a space where individuals could learn, have fun, and see groups of people who look like them.
PR: What makes pickleball the ultimate team-building event?
CC: It’s easy to play, connect, and it beats just going to the bar or the ballgame. It promotes health and wellness along with fun.
PR: Where do you see the sport of pickleball in 10 years?
CC: This is a very interesting question. The short answer is that the sport will continue to grow and gain international visibility – I will leave it there 🙂
PR: What advice do you have for anyone who is on the fence about getting started or is an absolute beginner?
CC: Find a fun local program to try. Pickleball is a low barrier to entry sport, meaning it can be played almost anywhere.
PR: If you could make one change to the sport, what would it be?
CC: I want it to become more inclusive and accessible in neighborhoods across the country.
PR: Where would your dream pickleball match take place? Give us specifics about the destination and why. Dream big!
CC: It’s going to take place at the 2024 Olympics – 🙂