August 2019 Newsletter

That’s a Wrap

While the tournament committee members for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic recover, the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) shares in the sense of accomplishment and pride for a tournament well done. Despite a two and a half hour rain delay on Saturday, the event otherwise went off without a hitch. Players were called to their courts with minimal delays, and the three-day tournament set a record as the largest outdoor pickleball tournament in the area with the final 305 participants out of 312 registered players. You can read more in the President’s message. If you played, we hope you’ll complete the survey from the Tournament Director, Mike Hoxie, to give the Tournament Committee and SMPA valuable feedback on how to improve the experience for players and fans. Photos? We’ve got a few, so peruse them on the SMPA website.

Walt Hundley Park? Where (in Seattle) is that?

During a recent meeting with SPR representatives, we learned that as part of its ongoing park maintenance program, SPR has scheduled resurfacing two West Seattle tennis courts. They are using this opportunity to add pickleball lines to the courts as part of a restoration project at Walt Hundley Playfield. While this project was on none of the lists SMPA submitted, this is a boon for players in the High Point area of West Seattle. Several SMPA directors met with SPR representatives, including an SPR landscape architect, to discuss court orientation and layouts that would best serve the pickleball community. That resurfacing work will begin this month, August. We understand consideration is being given to lining 6 to 8 pickleball courts on the existing Walt Hundley tennis courts that are, like too many in our city, badly in need of restoration. Stay tuned.

Pickleball protests at Parks Board

Many SMPA members attended two separate public Parks Board meetings to protest the announced SPR policy to close Seattle community centers during what had previously been described by SPR as “non-public hours,” effective January 1, 2020, and which we reported in last month’s newsletter. While we were left believing that the arguments made by our pickleball activists were effective, the Fall schedules appear to show that non-public hours will experience morning closures. From those presentations one SPR official acknowledged that its decision process was flawed, and that ranking SPR officials would separately meet with us regarding this and other pickleball issues in August. You can always follow along and view the videos of the Parks Board meetings, or attend one and ask to speak during the 10 minutes allowed for public comments.

We’ve been encouraged by the raft of emails that have been sent to Superintendent Jesus Aguirre and Recreation Director Justin Cutler calling out the importance of pickleball to Seattle city residents, asking for more venues and play opportunities and urging the cancellation of the planned non-public hours closures in January of 2020. Thank you to every one who took the time to send a message to the SPR officials, and who copied us. Your email messages are having an impact, and we urge you to keep them going.

August to early September of 2019 is a critical time period to provide your comments before the opportunity window closes on being able to affect the budget process. If you haven’t yet done so, please email the Superintendent (jesus.aguirre@seattle.gov) and the Director of Recreation (justin.cutler@seattle.gov) and tell them of the importance of pickleball to you and the community benefits that pickleball provides to so many people. Ask for more play opportunities both indoors and outdoors and urge them to fund dedicated pickleball courts in those areas where pickleball play is the highest. This is no time to sit on the bench and let others carry the load in getting more courts for Seattle.

A Pickleball League of Our Own

Medal rounds capped the summer league play at Soundview pickleball courts in north Seattle. Watch for future league play announcements on the SMPA website Play page.

SMPA summer 2019 league play players

SMPA President’s August 2019 Message

Pickleball Friends,

The presence and voice of the pickleball community in the greater Seattle area exploded in July. Bits of rain and tons of play marked the month. First, one request: if your SMPA membership is expiring, please renew. And if you have not yet joined SMPA, please do so today. We can only continue to grow the voice of pickleball and increase pickleball opportunities with your support. Annual Membership costs less than $2/month! Hopefully you agree that this is a low-cost investment for the benefits received.

For many of us in Seattle pickleball, the crown jewel pickleball event last month, and possibly of the summer, was the inaugural Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament held July 26-28, 2019 at Shoreview Park in Shoreline.

  • Over 300 players enjoyed the tournament from nine different states and Canada.
  • Three USAPA Hall of Fame members competed alongside one USAPA Ambassador from New Jersey.
  • Open division players competed for and won more than seven thousand dollars in addition to beautiful custom SMPA medals.
  • King 5 TV did a televised interview of SMPAs own director Frank Chiappone who enthusiastically promoted our sport.
  • Tournament Director Mike Hoxie from Pickleball is Great (PIG) did an outstanding job.
  • Pickleball friends from South Park, Green Lake, Gig Harbor, Bellingham, Anacortes, Kent, and other venues played and medaled. The pro players who teach at Pickleball Station medaled and took home cash in the Open Division.
  • Visiting VIPs included Seattle Parks and Recreation Department Director Justin Cutler, the Shoreline Director of Parks, Eric Friedli, a Shoreline city council member, and the President of Seattle’s Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council.
One hundred and eighty custom medals were awarded at the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament in July 2019

From the effusive compliments we received and glowing social media comments, clearly the organizing committee and its teams of over 100 volunteers made the tournament a resounding success. We are looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year. The dates are set, so put July 24, 26 and 26th of 2020 on your play calendars now! We promise to make the event worth everyone’s while, and continue to showcase pickleball in the metropolitan Seattle area.

The summer hasn’t been all fun and pickleball games. The SMPA Board of Directors submitted last week a prioritization recommendations for adding pickleball lines to several other sites that we understand are part of the SPR tennis court resurfacing projects now being planned. This 23-page report included reasons for adding lined courts, proposed layouts of clusters of courts for each site, and other information relevant to SPR’s decision making. We have asked to be included in the ongoing decision process and will keep you posted as we learn more.

  • An SMPA committee continues to meet SPR representatives to request additional lined pickleball courts in Seattle. These meetings provide crucial information about pending activities in SPR, and we’re grateful for their willingness to share details about pending closures or projects that sometimes pass under the public radar.
  • At the request of the SMPA Board of Directors, in our effort to broaden contacts with SPR and increase their responsiveness, I’ve requested meetings with SPR Superintendent, Jesus Aguirre, and Director of Recreation, Justin Cutler, so that we can discuss how to improve communications with the pickleball community and develop workable approaches to increase pickleball play opportunities and venues. We are still looking for those dates, although they’ve indicated that a response should be forthcoming.

I hope that August holds many hours of pickleball fun for all of you and that when I report to you next month, I can share that more substantive actions are being undertaken by the City of Seattle to address the concerns and needs of our large community.

Until next time, play hard and have fun on the courts.

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

SPR FaceBook Surveys – Take One, Take All

Seattle Parks and Recreation department has posted several informal Facebook surveys asking “What recreation activities would you like to see more of in Seattle?” If you play, live, or work in Seattle, this survey is for you.

Do your part to make sure pickleball is well represented in the survey responses

If you have a Facebook account, click to go to Facebook and we suggest that you:

  • tell them you would like more indoor and outdoor pickleball, and
  • tell them why you would like more courts for indoor and outdoor pickleball.

Take the time on Facebook to “Like” the other comments that advocate for more pickleball. If you don’t have a Facebook account, ask a friend to leave a comment in your name. Seattle keeps saying they want to hear from us citizens. Let’s see if they mean it.

Now that you got the hang of it, go ahead and add your comments herehereherehereherehere and here.

Play around the Sound

While it’s still summer: play!

Looking for where to play during these dog days of summer? Our SMPA website now has a page to keep track of pickleball play events. If you don’t find something there, drag your pickleball playing friends to Green Lake on Saturdays and Sundays, Shoreview Park any Saturday or Sunday, or Pickleball Station during their open play. Woodinville Sports Club also keeps a drop in play schedule.

Bainbridge Action

The Bainbridge Island Parks Commissioners finally did their “official” vote to approve 6 new stand alone pickleball courts right next to existing 6 temporary pickleball courts. Construction is set to begin late summer. The local Bainbridge pickleball community is excited to get these Founders Courts completed, and plan to have one of pickleball’s inventors, Barney McCallum, at ground breaking. SMPA will post an Action Alert and help spread the word in social media when a date is set. If you haven’t planned to attend, put the Bainbridge Island Founders Tournament, August 22 to 25th, 2019, on your calendars.

SPR August Big Play Day

At the request of SPR, SMPA is to provide instructional clinics for beginning and intermediate skill levels at the Big Day of Play that Seattle Parks is holding at the Rainier Community Center from 11 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, August 17, 2019. Tom Grubb has generously agreed to conduct the intermediate clinic in the gym. Come and play!

Calling All South Sounders – PenMet Project

Gig Harbor players expect to attend the public hearing with Pierce County regarding amendments to the plans and permits for the PenMet Parks Community Recreation center. This would provide indoor sports fields in an air dome for year-round use. The public meeting is to be held Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 1 PM in the Public Services Building Annex at 2401 South 35th Street, Tacoma, WA. If you want to comment or support the players in the South Sound, here’s your chance.

Camano Island Pickleball Tournaments

Camano Island Pickleball Club has filled up their Camano Cup on August 16,17, and 18th, 2019, and you are welcome to come watch your pals romp, dink, smash, and score during the weekend. Loads of fun, this great group demonstrates why fun, fitness, and friendship equals pickleball.

Camano club members are hosts again in the fall for the Lake Chelan Pickleball Tournament, billed as the first ever Pickleball Round Robin Tournament with Shoot Out for doubles and singles events! Registration is now open. You can find more information on their FaceBook page.

Mercer Island Player Report

Due to Cheerleader Camps and Other Programs in August, Mercer Island Community Center pickleball is canceled on these dates:

  • Monday Aug 12th, Wednesday Aug 14th, and Friday Aug 16th
  • NEW: Wednesday August 21st
  • Monday Aug 26th
  • Wednesday Aug 28th
  • Friday Aug 30th

Island pickleball players thought they had a deal last summer to paint pickleball lines on two of the three Luther Burbank tennis courts. However, Parks shut the courts down completely for excessive cracking. As most now know, in November 2019 Mercer Islanders failed to pass a bond levy that caused Mercer Island Parks and Rec to cut a number of programs, including pickleball hours at MICEC. A King County grant allowed them to reopen the community center for weekend play again on Sundays. Local players are still working on getting something going for outside play.

Tom Grubb Skills and Drills Sessions

IPTPA instructor and SMPA Board member Tom Grubb is offering free weekend morning pickleball drill sessions in mid-August at both Green Lake and Shoreview before the courts get too crowded. Arrive early to get in some high-quality instruction before settling in for a day of pickleball play. Dates for the one-hour long Tom Grubb Skills and Drills sessions are: