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Spring 2022 SMPA News

2022 Annual Meeting

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) will again hold the Annual Meeting online for 2022.

Join us on Zoom (link will be emailed to all Active, paid SMPA members) on the afternoon of Monday, May 16, 2022, to elect the new slate of Directors, say goodbye to retiring and termed-out Directors, and ratify the newest Director and Treasurer, Amy Greger, who steps in to fill a director slot for an unexpired term.

In addition to giving members a view into the financial health of SMPA (it’s good), SMPA President Frank Chiappone will give an update on future plans for the organization.

We miss greeting our members face-to-face, however we do plan to hold another Member Playdate sometime in August, to let you meet and chat with Board members during a day of SMPA member-only play.

  • Board-Approved Slate of Directors:
    • Linda Fane, West Seattle
    • Gordon Sata, Central Seattle
  • Ballots sent by email to members in mid April 2022
  • Online Annual Meeting 5.15.22
    • Election of Directors
    • Ratification of Director/Treasurer
    • SMPA Business Report
    • Trivia contest with prizes

Volunteers Needed!

The Humana Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament needs you to help deliver a successful July 2022 pickleball tournament at Shoreview Park in Shoreline.

From helping to park cars, to run scoresheets to the Tournament Director, monitor courts, feed volunteers, and help check in players, we’ve a job for everyone.

Take a look at the available tournament week tasks and shifts on the Pickleball Desk signup site. You’ll meet lots of pickleball fanatics while giving back to the sport we’re all a little crazy about.

Seattle Plans and Promises

Seattle Parks District (SPR) is at work on the funding cycle for the next six years. We can hold out some hope for pickleball in Seattle. The proposed budget currently includes some money for dedicated pickleball courts and some money to extend the community centers’ opening hours.

Access the current budget proposal here, or copy and paste this in your browser: https://www.seattle.gov/seattle-park-district/park-district-planning/park-district-funding-plan.

You can find the part about dedicated pickleball courts on the last page of the “Restoring Clean, Safe & Welcoming Parks & Facilities” document.

You can also provide feedback by accessing 3 briefs survey here, by emailing PDPlanning@seattle.gov, and by participating in the Community Check-In at the upcoming April 14, 2022, 6:30pm Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners online meeting.

SMPA Apparel Store Updates

SMPA opened a new online merchandise store late last year, now updated with shirts and hoodies for the Humana SMPC.

Also, we now have tees and hoodies to celebrate Pickleball as the Washington State sport. Check it out here!

SMPC Sponsors

Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament proudly welcomes title sponsor, Humana Healthcare, in addition to Proliance Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Onix Pickleball, OneShot Pickleball paddles, and Pickleball Central, the pickleball superstore.

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SMPA Membership Renewal

This is SMPA membership renewal time for many of you. Click Join to go directly to MemberPlanet, our 3rd party partner that securely manages our membership database.

Questions about your membership renewal or status? Contact us and we’ll try to help.

President’s Message

Greetings, SMPA friends! 

Thank you for the tremendous passion for pickleball and the never ending support you each give SMPA as we continue to grow the sport and work with local governments to improve play in the Seattle Metro area. We saw two clear examples of this in the past month, one of which I’ll touch upon briefly, and the other which will have lasting impact for years to come. 

At 8 AM on April 2, 2022, registration opened for the 2022 Humana Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic. Within the first 24 hours, we had 409 players registered. To give you a sense of how incredible that number is, we had 450 players total in last year’s tournament. We easily passed that number within the first 48 hours. We’re thrilled that you all are so excited to play in the SMPC. Some brackets filled quickly, however, here is still an opportunity for you to register and play in the best tournament in the region. You can sign up here. Also, many people work year round to plan and make this event a great tournament (see this article). The 2022 SMPC tournament runs July 20th to 24th at Shoreview Park in Shoreline.

The other example of pickleball’s growth is more profound. On Monday, March 28th, 2022, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5615 to make Pickleball the official sport of the state of Washington. A special thanks needs to go out to Senator John Lovick, who introduced and sponsored the bill, and to SMPA member Kate Van Gent who tirelessly worked with government officials and pickleball players to garner support for the bill. Pickleball now takes its rightful place as the official sport of the state.

Fran Myer, Pickleball Hall of Fame, and Jessica Prince, SMPA Secretary, represent us at the Pickleball as Washington State Sport bill-signing event at the Bainbridge Island Founders Courts.

Several media outlets covered this story from the start, which brings attention to the need for more courts and more opportunity to play, and highlights pickleball’s role in keeping us active and healthy. We hope the designation will attract the private sector to invest and build more places to play and other pickleball-related businesses in the area.

Neither of those two moments would have been possible without the SMPA community stepping up, bringing their passion, and making themselves seen and heard. I love this community, and together we’ll continue to do great things.

Paddles up!
Frank Chiappone, SPMA President

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Newsletter

Happy 2022! SMPA Newsletter Returns

Covid hovers, SMPA Keeps Active

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) managed successful ventures in 2021, despite Covid interruptions to indoor play and winter rains that limited outdoor play. SMPA members across the metro area played in the rain and snow, competed in tournaments, organized play groups on PlayTime Scheduler, and joined or renewed their SMPA membership. That’s you, reader, masking up indoors to play this fun sport, bundling up for outdoor pickleball games, raising money to buy more nets, keeping your playgroup intact.

SMPA delivered more than a dozen rain shuttle squeegees to venues from Shoreline, West Seattle, Capitol Hill, to Kirkland, and Bellevue last year. To improve accessibility to play, SMPA-supported donor groups placed two more nets at Shoreline courts, and additional semipermanent nets at the very popular Green Lake venue. All in all, through coordinated city grants and large and small donor groups, we have placed almost two dozen semipermanent nets on pickleball courts in the Seattle Metro area.

SMPA can do things like this because our members actively engage all year long in local play activities. Overall, there are now more indoor venues (when there’s no Covid closures) because SMPA members advocate for pickleball players with their local Parks Departments and community centers.

As with any non-profit, the SMPA Board meets monthly to work on future projects, address current issues, and focus on business. In spring of 2022, please watch out for the following and, when the time comes, please attend our 2022 online Annual Meeting (Covid concerns prevail) and vote for the next slate of Directors replacing retiring and termed-out Directors.

  • SMPA Board member slate announced April 2022
  • Ballots sent by email to members in mid April 2022
  • Online Annual Meeting late April 2022

Bellevue Parks 6-year Plan

The first draft of the Bellevue Parks and Open Spaces System Plan includes these highlights. 

“An emerging sport is pickleball and there is demand locally for court space. It is a priority to investigate pickleball facility options for the future. Courts may be indoor or outdoor and both are desired.”

“The city is committed to re-striping tennis courts for pickleball use, while investigating options for implementing pickleball nets” 

“In the longer-term, plan outreach noted interest in a dedicated pickleball court cluster that can be used for group play.”

“The city will continue to work with the pickleball community and regional partners to assess opportunities for dedicated court development in new and existing parks.” 

See the previous plan here. And then? Call your city council representative and ask for their support for pickleball.


Seattle Outdoor Pickleball Demand Study

Seattle Parks and Rec (SPR) allocated $50,000 to pay for consultants to complete an Outdoor Pickleball Demand Study.  They tell us to expect a survey and two public meetings where the public will have a chance to make themselves heard.

State Sport of Washington

Washington legislative Bill 5615, designating pickleball as the official sport of the state of Washington, is moving along. On Friday, the bill was approved by the Senate State Government & Elections Committee. The bill now moves to the Rules Committee.

Bill 5615 will need to be approved by both the state House and Senate before it becomes official.

What can you do? Leave a comment in support of this bill, or call your Washington state legislators and ask them to pass the bill. Having pickleball as the official state sport of Washington would be way beyond cool, and increase the visibility of the sport without us pickleball-playing taxpayers spending a dime in promotions. Let’s get this done.

Be Our 2022 SMPC Volunteer Coordinator

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament needs you! Or someone you may know with the connections and personal skills to reach out to and organize the many volunteers who’ll help run a successful July 2022 pickleball tournament in Shoreview Park.

You can read the complete description of coordinator duties here. If you’re interested, reach out to the tournament committee, already meeting every two weeks to plan for the best tournament and best player (and volunteer) experience possible.

SMPC Sponsors

How do we pay for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament? Mostly through registration fees, and in part through sponsorships. We can happily announce that Humana healthcare has signed on as our first Title Sponsor.

As the tournament grows, we need those sponsorships more than ever. If your business or organization, or someone you know, would be a good sponsors fit to help create a successful July 2022 tournament in Shoreview Park, please reach out to the committee, or better yet, directly to Dennis Poppe, local pickleball player and USA Pickleball National Champion (2021), who’s helped develop our sponsorship program this year. Dennis will work directly with those interested in becoming a sponsor in 2022.

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New SMPA Online Apparel Store

SMPA opened a new online merchandise store late last year, featuring hoodies, as well as a variety of dry-fit type shirts for women and men. Run by the same vendor who made last year’s great SMPC tournament shirts, the 3rd party store site offers size, color, and style variety. Check it out here!

This is SMPA membership renewal time for many of you. A click on the Join button takes you to our 3rd-party membership website. MemberPlanet securely manages our membership database so we can focus on pickleball, our members, and growing the sport across the Seattle metro area. We are grateful for your support and, if you have gotten a reminder, please take a moment and re-up. For those of you who left autorenewal in place, the $20 charge will appear on your valid credit card.

Questions about your membership renewal or status? Contact us and we’ll try to help.

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2021 SMPA Board of Directors Election Results

Covid may have halted online meetings, but not the fulfilling of director duties spelled out in the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) Bylaws. The Board selection committee recommended three new directors to replace termed-out director and SMPA President Jerry Kindinger, and directors who’ve stepped down for family and professional reasons, Tom Grubb and Sean Oldridge. In the online election that followed, these new Directors received the overwhelming majority of member votes and have now joined the SMPA Board:

  • Jessica Prince (Mercer Island), subsequently elected Secretary of the Board
  • Fran Myer (Kenmore), Pickleball Hall of Fame and local legend
  • Sarah Webb (Seattle), retired pathologist and organizer of Miller CC pickleball

At the next Board meeting, held Monday, May 10, the Board said goodbye to the departing directors and elected these officers to guide the organization until Spring of 2022:

  • Frank Chiappone, President
  • Theresa Haynie, Vice President
  • Jessica Webb, Secretary
  • Drew Thoresen, Treasurer