When Academy was recognized as the top sporting goods store in Houston here two years ago — honors bestowed by both Houston Press and its readers — it was on the heels of a Houston Astros World Series title and a run towards a second. Back then, the chain’s faithful patrons, built steadily over several generations, lined up outside its stores for commemorative T-shirts to celebrate those good times.
The last year-plus has hardly been the best of times. The local sports teams barely played any games for hometown crowds during lockdown and Academy’s locations saw folks lining up instead for firearms in the wake of all the American uncertainly of 2020. But, whatever the reason or season, Academy did what it’s done since it first opened its doors. It served the needs of its devoted neighbors, sizing them up for the right home protection rather than the correct T-shirt fit. With the suddenly housebound needing diversions for home, or outdoors while practicing social distancing, their trusted sporting goods retailer came through with lawn games, fishing poles, trampolines, above ground pools and more. At a time when we all went from cheering for our athletic heroes to rooting for ourselves to rally back, Academy once again proved itself invaluable to the home team.