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​SMPA Fall/Winter 2019 Newsletter

Falling Leaves and Winter Pickleball

We’re skipping a month or two of newsletter editions so that we can include a number of items in this Fall/Winter edition. Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) doesn’t rest, and the Board has been busy with a number of tasks. There’s a tournament to plan for next summer, events to plan for this winter, a search for new Board members, continuing to meet with city and other officials to look at everything from court access indoors to lining courts outdoors. And the Board is plotting activities for 2020 in our Strategic Plans that we’ll share here and as the year progresses. We put out a question to our SMPA members on Facebook and by email, and our member priorities remain dedicated facilities, indoor access to courts and more outdoor courts. We’re on it!

SMPC 2020 Planning Underway

After taking some needed time off, the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament planning committee reconvened last month to get started on next year’s tournament. If you’re one of those picklers that likes to plan way ahead, save the dates July 24th – 26th, 2020. The tournament will once again be held at Shoreview Park in Shoreline, WA.

July 2019’s SMPC tournament was the largest outdoor pickleball tournament in the Seattle-metro area, welcoming 305 players from around the country playing 388 matches over the span of 3 days. In the weeks that followed, we heard from many of you about things you thought went really well and ways we could make the tournament even better. The planning committee listened and now we’re back at it looking to build on that foundation to create a uniquely northwest pickleball event. While we don’t have a lot of details to share yet, we can tell you that Pickleball is Great has been retained to run the show in 2020, and we’re excited to partner once again with Mike Hoxie and Gigi Guerra.

Stay tuned over the coming months for more news coming from the planning committee including things you asked for like a pre-tournament clinic, a night to play with pros and a junior tournament. We’ll keep you posted.

By the way, if you are interested in volunteering to help organize the 2020 event, send a note to info@seattlemetropickleball.com And if you’ve not made your way through the photos documenting the highly successful tournament, take a look by visiting the SMPA website. You can view tournament results here to see a list of all the medalists.

SMPA Members Played and Medaled at USAPA National Championships

Gold + SMPA = Great fun in the desert

Seattle was well represented across all age and skill groups at the USAPA National Championships that concluded November 10th, 2019. A record number of players made their way to the desert to compete, and in addition to all around great matches from our local talent, Seattle pickleball players brought home a medal or two.

Gold Medalists (note bold indicates SMPA member)

  • Joyce Jones – Women’s Singles 75+,85+
  • Brian Hunter/Lisa Schwab – Mixed Doubles 3.5 50+
  • Kitty Danger/Danger Danger – Mixed Doubles 3.0 50+
  • John Lui – Men’s Singles, 3.5 50+
  • Theresa Haynie/Susan Crossland – Women’s 3.0 70+

Silver Medalists

  • Jo Gries – Women’s Singles, 3.5, 50+

Bronze Medalists

  • Stuart Silk/Christopher Kern – Men’s Doubles, 3.0 65+

There were plenty of non-SMPA Seattle regional players who brought home hardware, including Jim Cooke of Pickleball Station, Dora Masada of Redmond, and Jane Meadows of Redmond. For a full list of brackets and winners, visit the Margaritaville 2019 USAPA National Championships site.

SMASH Pickleball Winter Leagues

SMASH Winter Pickleball Leagues are now open for registration. Join the SMASH pickleball players this winter for exciting pickleball play in two locations: Seattle and Mercer Island. All skill levels welcome: they have divisions that match your skill level. Sign up here.

SMPA President’s Fall/Winter Message

Pickleball Friends,

Winter brings short days and some very cold mornings to Seattle, and I hope you are getting your heart rate up and staying warm in one of the many gyms open for pickleball play around the metro area.

Your SMPA Board of Directors held a Strategic Planning Retreat for the purpose of setting goals and focus priorities for calendar year 2020. Prior to the meeting, we received approximately 30 emails from members listing their top three priorities for SMPA. Those emails were integral to the Board discussion and decisions. Thank you for the input.

After much discussion, we identified five priorities that SMPA will concentrate on for the coming year. We will be reaching out to members and soliciting volunteers to help achieve these goals as we move forward. We also want to extend an open invitation to all members to communicate their ideas and suggestions regarding these priorities at any time. We are dedicated to making 2020 our best year yet and to making material improvements in the state of Pickleball in the greater metropolitan area.

SMPA 2020 Priorities

  1. Dedicated Pickleball Courts We intend to pursue development of dedicated pickleball courts. We expect to work on parallel tracks toward development of clusters of outdoor courts as well as a year round indoor/outdoor pickleball complex. While we will continue to work with SPR to develop locations, we intend to broaden our focus beyond SPR controlled property attempting to explore an array of possibilities, public and private, in Seattle as well as surrounding municipalities.
  2. Indoor Play Time We will seek to expand available venues and hours for indoor play. We will work both with SPR decision makers as well as community center directors to develop more play opportunities. We will also work to develop play opportunities at non SPR controlled sites and establish mutually beneficial relationships with other entities toward this end.
  3. Establish New Play Programs We plan to develop a junior play program for youth and to support that effort with clinics and instructional play in order to broaden interest among youth. For adults, we intend to hold some introductory sessions for those new to pickleball and to continue sponsoring clinics for beginning and intermediate skill levels. Last, we want to offer more league play.
  4. Improve Member Communications We will upgrade our website in order to increase the informational content and make it easier to navigate. We intend to also increase communications with the membership.
  5. Increase Member Participation. We intend to develop more opportunities for members to actively participate in association functions and activities and to assist with all aspects of SMPA efforts to grow pickleball and our association. We expect to create a Volunteer Coordinator position in order to facilitate participation by members. To achieve our goals we need input and participation from everyone.

We look forward to playing and working with you all as we work on these priorities in 2020. Best regards.

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

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

Play around the Sound

Camano, Kirkland, Shoreline, Kent: Lots of choices

The SMPA website tracks 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. The Woodinville Sports Club also keeps a drop in play schedule.

Bainbridge Island Dedicated Pickleball Courts

Following on their successful summer fundraiser, the Bainbridge Island Founders Tournament, the Bainbridge Island Pickleball Club embarked on a program to build out the entrance to the courts with engraved paving bricks. They are inviting players, clubs around the country, and anyone wanting to be a part of history to purchase a brick. You’ll have to visit their Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation website for updates or to buy a brick for your favorite pickleball player.

Calling All South Sounders – PenMet Project

Gig Harbor players experienced great disappointment when the Parks folks scratched plans for a covered court area as part of the massive revision to PenMet parks. That’s being revisited, so perhaps there’s better news ahead. Otherwise, when the weather is good, check out the South Sound Pickleball Facebook page to see if the weather is accommodating for outdoor play. After that, it’s the Y in Gig Harbor.

Camano Island Pickleball

Camano Island Pickleball Club continues to play outdoors as long as the weather holds. Check their Facebook page for updates.

Mercer Island Player Report

Looking for indoor play on weekends? When weather drives pickleball players inside, Mercer Island Community Center is open on Sundays and during the week as well for pickleball play. Note that non-Mercer Island residents pay $5.75 to play. Good lighting, good competition, often crowded.

Skills and Drills Sessions

Miller Community Center Skills class ends at the end of November, however pickleball instruction and planned skills sessions will resume with the next LifeLong Learning schedule change. Keep an eye out on FaceBook, and Time for Pickleball for planned classes. Don’t forget about Pickleball Station for the great clinics and free intro classes they offer.

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Newsletter

September 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter

Kirkland opens three dedicated pickleball courts

The city of Kirkland has converted the Everest Park tennis court into three dedicated pickleball courts. Pickleball players found this new facility is already well used.

If you want to join other players there, keep an eye on the North Seattle Pickleball Facebook group and/or make sure you join Playtime Scheduler.

If you already play on those new dedicate courts, please send a thank you note to Kirkland’s Park Manager Jason Filan (jfilan@kirklandwa.gov.)

Edmonds adds four pickleball courts

The city of Edmonds has resurfaced the two tennis courts at Seaview Park. Each tennis court has lines for two pickleball courts. The Edmonds Parks department will provide four portable nets on site every year from March to October.

If you want to join other players there, visit the Edmonds Pickleball Facebook group and/or you join Playtime Scheduler.

If you already play on those new courts, please send a thank you note to Edmonds’s Recreation Manager Todd Cort (todd.cort@edmondswa.gov.)

Seattle adds four pickleball courts

The city of Seattle has resurfaced the two tennis courts at Walt Hundley Playfield, next to the High Point Community Center. Each tennis court has lines for two pickleball courts.

If you want to join other players there, visit Playtime Scheduler.

If you already play on those new courts, please send a thank you note to Seattle’s pickleball feedback email address (pickleball@seattle.gov.)

Seattle Publishes Pickleball Pilot Study Report

The Seattle Parks Department’s outdoor pickleball pilot project took place from October 2018 to October 2019. While the outdoor pilot project was ongoing, the Parks department denied any request for outdoor pickleball expansion. Since October 2019, we have all been waiting for a report.

As of August 27, 2019, it is finally here and it not only talks about outdoor pickleball but about indoor pickleball as well.

Upcoming Seattle Indoor Pickleball Changes

Community Center Scheduling

To understand what is going on with Seattle indoor pickleball this fall, you need a crash course in Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) community center scheduling. Reviewing the Pilot Program Report published by SPR 8/27/2019 is also instructive.

Public hours

The community centers have hours posted on their front doors and on their web sites. These are the hours that the centers are open to the general public and anyone can walk in and use the facilities within reason.

Non-Public Hours

Rentals

People or organizations can rent community center rooms or gyms even when the community centers are officially closed to the general public.  You not only pay for the room, but also for the people who will keep part of the center open just for you. That is how Smash Pickleball runs their evening and weekend pickleball leagues out of some of the community centers. That is also why you might have observed that a community center gym is occupied even though the community center is officially closed.

Paid Programming

Until 2017, Community Centers were also open for “paid programming” during non-public hours.  A building monitor was paid to let people in for the paid activity.  We understand that before 2017, the Parks department used to collect 60 to 80 thousand dollars a year from drop-in pickleball fees. Some of that money was used to pay the building monitors.

Paid programming becomes unpaid programming

In 2017, most drop-in activities, including pickleball, became free and therefore switched from being “paid programming” to being “unpaid programming”. 

This caused problems for drop-in activities that happened outside of the public hours. A building monitor still needed to be paid to be present in the building, but the activities no longer generated any money. The Parks department found some creative ways to keep the non-public hours programming going and happy users never knew what was going on. Unfortunately, this was not sustainable. The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department now no longer budgets money for non-public hours activities.

The Problem: SPR’s perspective

Free activities that are taking place outside of community center public hours are not generating any revenue and are costing money to pay the people who monitor the community center building while these activities are taking place. Therefore, beginning this Fall the Parks Department has chosen to no longer support programming that takes place during non-public hours.

If you want to know how we got here, read the “Community Center Scheduling” section above.

How does this change affect pickleball?

How much?

About 25% of pickleball hours happened during non-public hours in Spring 2019 according to the Pickleball Pilot Study Report.

Where?

This affects pickleball in the following locations:

  • Ravenna-Eckstein
  • Miller
  • Van Asselt
  • Hiawatha
  • Delridge

You might wonder why these locations and not others. Part of it is luck of the draw. There are actually three tiers of community centers. The top tiers are open to the public about 70 hours a week. The second-tier ones are open 40 to 45 hours per week. The third-tier ones are open 25 to 30 hours a week.   The fewer public hours a community center has, the more likely the pickleball hours will fall outside of the public hours.

What is the Seattle Parks Department doing about it?

The Seattle Parks proposes four solutions and leaves it to the community center directors to choose which one to implement for their own center. Here are the four solutions:

1. Move the non-public pickleball hours to public hours.

This might mean moving a to a different day, a different time slot or both.

The Miller Community Center director has already decided to move their Monday morning pickleball hours to Monday afternoon.

2. Create a paid pickleball activity during the non-public hours.

That would be a lot like signing up for a class, but instead you would be signing up for pickleball play. You would pre-pay a fixed fee to be allowed to play pickleball during a specific time slot during a specific season. For instance, you would pay at the beginning of the fall to be able to come play pickleball on Mondays from 10 to noon during the fall at the Bob Hassan Community Center. Who will set the fees within SPR is still under consideration but it will reflect costs of opening and staffing community center while pickleball is going on.

3. Have the pickleball community rent the gym to organize paid pickleball

Coordinate a gym rental program for the Pickleball community to determine a schedule and locations where players collectively cover the room rental rate and Building Monitor payroll. If free morning play is unavailable at the CC near you, SPR has offered to make morning play (or any other time) available  outside of operating hours at times agreeable to individual CC Managers on a pay for play basis under which the costs of a staff member assigned to work during non public hours are passed on to those who want to play. We are hoping to negotiate reasonable fees with SPR and will keep you advised as we learn more.

4. Cancel the non-public pickleball hours

This is not likely to happen. The “Pickleball Pilot Study Report” recommends: “maintain historic Pickleball drop-in schedules”.  The deputy superintendent also said at a recent public meeting that total pickleball hours will be maintained.

5. Recent discussions with SPR

After further discussions this week, Justin has advised that he and Tim Pretare will be working on a convenient and reasonably priced court rental program for the Pickleball community that will allow gym rental for Pickleball during non public hours when there are no conflicting activities. SPR hopes to publish this model in early October.

What else might the Seattle Parks Department do about it?

The Pickleball Pilot Study Report also mentions the following possible solutions:

1. Adjust Community Center operating hours to include historic Pickleball schedule

This would need to be done to cover not just pickleball but all other activities that have been happening outside of public hours. For this to happen a new source of money would need to be found. Further discussion with SPR are merited in this area.

2. Submit a request to the Superintendent to offer a pay-to-play Pickleball pilot program

This is unlikely to happen for several reasons. First, in order to avoid discriminating against person unable to pay, the Parks superintendent made all the drop-in activities free in 2017.  Park is presently unwilling to revisit this policy. Second, it would raise equity questions by treating pickleball differently from all the other sports?

What about pre-2017 style pay-as-you-go?

Couldn’t we just pay a few dollars when we enter the community center to play pickleball? This is contrary to the “all drop-in activities are free” initiative of 2017. Nonetheless using community center cards could still be an option. However there are some obstacles. If the Seattle Parks Department makes an exception for pickleball, it might have to start making exceptions for everyone else, thereby undermining the original policy. To our knowledge no final decision on this topic has yet been made by SPR.

When will these changes take effect?  

We had been warned that things would change by January 1, 2020, but it turns that these changes will already be in effect for pickleball as of September 3, 2019. 

How does this affect me?

It depends upon where you play.

At the Miller Community Center, Monday pickleball will be moved to the afternoon.  Friday morning pickleball stays in the morning even those are non-public hours because the center will be monitored for some other activity that has been allowed to keep operating at that time.  If you don’t like this solution, reread the “What is the Seattle Parks Department doing about it?” section above, get the local pickleball community to agree on a different solution and go talk to the Community Center director.

The West Seattle (Delridge, Hiawatha, High Point) pickleball community somehow managed to partner with the local community center directors to minimize the impact of the new rules, and there will not be any major changes there.

At the Ravenna Community Center, the changes hadn’t been settled on yet as of August 23rd.  The Community Center director is working on it. If you favor one of the solutions in the “What is the Seattle Parks Department doing about it?” section above, make sure you let the Community Center director know about it.

At the Van Asselt Community Center, things were up in the air as of August 23rd. If you favor one of the solutions in the “What is the Seattle Parks Department doing about it?” section above, make sure you let the Community Center director know about it.

Seattle Parks Statement

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association has received the following communication from Justin Cutler who is Director of the Recreation Division of Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

This week Seattle Parks and Recreation put out a press release sharing our report on the 2018 Pickleball Pilot. This report relays the successes the department has had in expanding pickleball access by adding 24 multiuse courts, providing nets and equipment at many community centers, and providing over 5,000 annual hours across 69 indoor pickleball courts at community centers.

We also used this release to recognize the growing popularity of pickleball and the increased usage of the courts and indoor hours provided. The report recommends additional multi-use restriping and proposes possible options for some tennis court conversion for dedicated pickleball courts.

Finally the report describes how community centers can work with the pickleball community to continue to expand hours. As a drop-in program offering, SPR is proud to provide pickleball throughout our city at no cost to our community. This is in-line with our mission to use community centers to provide opportunities for all to recreate and be healthy without additional barriers of affordability and access.

And yet, we hear that additional pickleball hours are still desired. We must weight this request in the same way that we weigh all other community recreation requests that are above our core offerings. We are encouraging our pickleball community to utilize the community center off hour rental system. This would allow additional hours beyond the free drop-in programs, it would ensure that the department is funded to staff the building during these hours, and it would not displace any other core programs.

We look forward to taking in these requests, and would even welcome a city-wide proposal of rental hours across centers.

Justin Cutler

5000 hours

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association has requested an explanation and data regarding the 5000 hours the Seattle Parks Department claims to have set aside for indoor Pickleball so we can better understand how SPR calculates the hours and specifically what hours from what community centers that statement is based upon. We question whether this time related to community centers where and when there is a demand. More to follow.

Categories
Newsletter

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:

Categories
Newsletter

July 2019 Newsletter

Smash(ing) Success

Filled with players of all skill levels, Smash Pickleball Pride Palooza took over Green Lake Pickleball Courts June 22, 2019

Pickleball players from the 2.0 level to the 4.0 level enjoyed a great Saturday of competition in June. The Smash Pickleball Pride Palooza featured nearly 100 players divvied up for the day into skills-based round robin groups. Each team got to play the others in their division 3 times, and by the sounds coming from the court and the satisfied players, yes, even those on the losing end of the matches, everyone enjoyed the event, with proceeds benefiting Lambert House in Seattle.

Organized by Smash Pickleball, a local pickleball company that runs leagues, tournaments, lessons, and also sells a great array of pickleball equipment, the day of play filled the Green Lake pickleball courts with many great matches. As players were eliminated from the brackets, the organizers encouraged them to continue playing, so that even with medal matches underway, there were seldom empty courts as each group played out their alloted time.

Just around the corner: Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic Tournament

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic expects to be the largest outdoor tournament yet in the Seattle metro area, with a projected 300 players ready for action on the Shoreview pickleball courts at Shoreview Park in Shoreline, WA. And there are still unfilled teams for female 4.5 and 5.0 Open play. Several male partners looking for mixed doubles partners. Check out the Players Needing Partners list on the Pickleball Tournaments registration page, and help make pickleball history. There are some great local and national players looking for a partner to get them to the medal stand. We know you’re out there.

The Tournament Committee can use every single volunteer available! All volunteer roles are important, and the Tournament team has made it easy to sign up as a volunteer through SignUp Genius.

Be sure to visit the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament Facebook page for more information about the tournament.

Camano Island Pickleball News

Want to spread your wings and get in some play just beyond the Seattle borders? The Camano Island Pickleball Club hosts several hotly competitive pickleball tournaments throughout the year at their courts and also at the local YMCA in Stanwood throughout the summer. Players attend from all over the region.

Camano Island pickleball players actively promote and participate in two large tournaments at Darnell’s Resort at Lake Chelan, WA. When you visit or play in a tournament on Camano, they make it clear that they enjoy the fun, exercise and the social aspects of pickleball, and that they’re all learning together. This summer, the club is hosting a series of Monday night clinics at the Camano Island courts.

The club plays on portable nets at the Island County Outdoor Tennis courts located at 141 N East Camano Drive, Camano Island, Washington 98282. Their play schedule of 5 to 7 days a week varies with the time of the year and weather, and play happens Sundays, then Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM. Every Saturday morning from 8:30 AM to 12 PM, they enjoy a friendly Round Robin Tournament as just another great way to get to know all the players. Check out the Camano Pickleball Facebook page.

Lastly, they invite you to sign up for the Camano Cup on August 16,17, and 18th, 2019, for a fun day of play and friendship, on top of the great competition. Details on their Facebook page.

Have you seen this on Facebook?

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

We want pickleball to be well represented in the answers. So far, “roller derby” has the most support.

If you have a Facebook account, click to go to Facebook and

  • say you would like more indoor and outdoor pickleball,
  • say why you would like more indoor and outdoor pickleball,
  • “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.

Bothell Parks and Rec’ 6-year Plan Survey

The Bothell Parks and Recreation Department is working on a new 6-year plan. If you live, work or play in Bothell, take their survey and tell them that you would like more indoor and/or outdoor pickleball.

SMPA President’s July 2019 Message

Pickleball Friends,

First the good news. The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic Tournament is coming together nicely. As of now, 298 pickleball players have registered to play in all divisions, from 3.0 to the professionals. Over 650 matches will be played Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There is still room in some brackets, although the deadline for registering and paying your fees is fast approaching. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this great event.

Shoreview Park in Shoreline, WA hosts Saturday and Sunday pickleball

And now the more challenging news. Now through September is a crucial period for the near-term future of pickleball with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR). SPR is tweaking the budget process, allocating funds, and making some schedule and program adjustments that are sure to affect pickleball, particularly for indoor pickleball next winter. Effective January 1, 2020, SPR plans to terminate all non-public programs that take place at various community centers throughout Seattle. That is, each community center has standard operational hours that may not be what you think; “non-public hours” are those times outside of the “standard operational hours.” Classes and activities such as yoga, Zumba, and pickleball, too, are considered non-public programs held “outside of published operating hours of the community centers.” What does that mean for pickleball? Most significantly, the available time for pickleball play will likely be decreased as other activities are squeezed into limited community center hours. In several community centers, pickleball typically happens during non-public hours. The fate of pickleball at some community centers is uncertain because those non-public hour policies go into effect as of January 2020, and some community centers will not open except for pay-to-play events. We are pressing for more information on this and expect to provide more detail after our next SPR-SMPA meeting.

What should you do? I urge every pickleball player to email SPR Superintendent Jesus Aguirre (jesus.aguirre@seattle.gov) and SPR Director of Recreation, Justin Cutler (justin.cutler@seattle.gov) . Tell them the importance of pickleball to you and all of your friends. Entreat them to add, not reduce, pickleball play opportunities both indoor and outdoors. Ask them to fund dedicated Pickleball courts at locations in the City where the number of people who play pickleball is high. Time is crucial. Decisions will be made in part based upon the input these folks receive. Importantly, after September, the City will make its budget decisions and the opportunity to effect near term change will be lost.

SMPA continues to meet every other week with SPR representatives to promote Pickleball play opportunities and to encourage addition of more outdoor courts and indoor play time. Progress with the city is painfully slow.

  • Still no final report on the results of last year’s pilot program under which several tennis courts were lined for pickleball. No report has been issued notwithstanding frequent promises that it will be forthcoming soon. We believe that this program demonstrated the significant popularity of our sport and justified not only additional outside lined courts, but creation of dedicated courts as well.
  • SPR communications regarding pickleball times for community centers remains uncoordinated.
  • In the last few days several dozen players appeared at Yesler to play only to be told they could not play and were turned away. At Loyal Heights, times were announced for play, but when players appeared, they were told time had been cut in half.

What is painfully clear is that SPR does not have its act together, and this is hurting play opportunities for many pickleball players. Your Seattle Metro Pickleball Association Board of Directors intends to stay engaged with SPR. This means that we have to broaden our contacts with the Seattle city representatives so that we can deliver our message to more people and achieve some meaningful changes for the benefit of the several hundred members of the pickleball community.

We have also begun exploring potential partnerships with third parties to explore the feasibility of developing dedicated courts available for year-round play. We plan to reach out to other cities that have taken the initiative to develop dedicated courts and gather information about their successes. We commit to keeping you posted on these efforts. In the mean time, I encourage each of you to share any ideas you have about improving pickleball opportunities in the City with me, and please continue to communicate your concerns to SPR.

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

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

Summer Play Reminders

Looking for where to play this summer? Look no further than the summer play events page. Our SMPA website now has a page to keep track of pickleball play events. This is a sampling of what is keeping pickleball players occupied in Seattle this summer.

  • Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner clinic, July 10th, 1 PM to 3 PM Shoreview Park pickleball courts, 700 Innis Arden Drive, Shoreline. Limited to 16 players, this $50 clinic, Doubles Strategy to Win and have FUN! is for players 3.0 to 4.0.
  • Outdoor weekly drop in play at Miller, Green Lake, Shoreview, and Delridge pickleball courts (free).
  • 8-week long Leagues – flex and fixed (set fee) are underway at Soundview and Green Lake.
  • 4th of July Round Robin Shootout – fun play at Green Lake before the fireworks begin. The event is sold out, and viewers and supporters welcome.
  • Shoreview Park in Shoreline expects a crowd of players on Thursday, July 4th. If you’re not in the Shootout at Green Lake, head on up to Shoreline to play.
  • When the sun is out, players pack the Yost courts in Edmonds most weekday mornings, and very often after working hours until dark. See their Facebook page.
  • Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament – registration ends July 19, 2019. Sign up here

Free Refereeing Clinic

Where there are tournaments, there is generally a need for referees. You can do this, too! The next SMPA-sponsored free refereeing clinic (weather permitting) starts at 8 AM on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at the Green Lake Pickleball Courts. Following the clinic, you can practice refereeing during the morning’s open play games. Instructor Tom Grubb is a USAPA Certified Referee and Registered Trainer and IPTPA Level II Certified Pickleball Teaching Professional. This class can only help hone your knowledge of pickleball rules.

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:

ThirdShot Sports Clinic Canceled for Seattle

The timing wasn’t quite right, and Mark Renneson, of ThirdShot Sports has canceled his scheduled clinics at Woodinville Sports Center. You can still sign up for his Vancouver and Nanaimo clinics, and he promises to return to Seattle sometime over the winter to offer his tournament prep clinic.

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June 2019 Newsletter

Driest June? More Outdoor Play!

This month, we start the newsletter with the President’s message to members and other readers because there are key events brewing behind the scenes. Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) was formed to help grow pickleball venues in Seattle to further pickleball for all ages and abilities in a welcoming, inclusive, and healthy environment. By creating a sustainable organization, we wanted to make clear to the city officials that we are here for the long run, that we remain a steady presence regardless of changing personnel (their side or ours), and that our formation of SMPA in 2017 wasn’t an indication of our “newness” of pickleball as a sport but our dedication to the future of pickleball in the region.

Green Lake pickleball courts saw lots of action on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the SPR Park Fest.

As you read Jerry’s letter, consider what SMPA has accomplished and what can be accomplished with the full participation of our almost 250 members. Encourage your non-member pickleball pals to join with us by becoming a member. These membership numbers count in our dealings with cities. Our work as an organization is ongoing, and we need every one of you to help us continue in our work with the often slow-moving entities who control our access to courts.

SMPA President’s Message

Pickleball Friends,

May 2019 was a busy month and June promises to be even more so. I want to update you regarding recent SMPA efforts to promote pickleball and our continuing work to expand Pickleball play opportunities and venues in the metro area.

SMPA Board members continue to meet with Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) representatives every other week to discuss ways in which the City of Seattle can better serve the pickleball community in the greater metropolitan area. Progress is slow, however we remain steadfast in our efforts to move the city forward. While not brief, this summarizes our recent meetings:

  • SPR advised us that they are finally readying the release of a formal report on the results of the Pickleball Pilot program that ended last October. We have no details of the contents of the report, although SPR has suggested that it will likely recommend that future pickleball courts be created in clusters of multiple courts and likely near community centers. They are hinting that SPR may recommend the creation of dedicated pickleball courts in addition to 2 or three additional locations where tennis courts will be lined in order to provide more places to play. As always, the devil is in the details, although we consider this to be movement in a positive direction. We expect to make the final SPR pilot program report available to you as soon as it is released. Stay tuned.
  • SMPA submitted some months ago eight different sites for creation of clusters of dedicated pickleball courts. At this writing, we are awaiting feedback from SPR on these recommendations. While we know they are reviewing the extensive data we provided, including Social Justice Initiative screening, accessibility, court condition, adaptability for pickleball, they’ve not committed to anything yet.
  • SPR held the first of two public Park Fests in early June for the purpose of giving citizens an opportunity to provide input about what is most wanted in parks and to ask questions of SPR officials about its plans for the near term. The Fest was held at Green Lake and drew several hundred folks. Individuals had an opportunity to “vote” on the activities they most wanted SPR to concentrate on improving. More votes were cast for improving play and venue opportunities for pickleball than any other of the more than a dozen choices provided. In addition, 65 to 75 players filled eight pickleball courts for open play from 10 AM to 3 PM. At least one of the ranking officials from SPR came to observe the play and commented upon pickleball’s popularity.
  • SPR holds its next (and last) Park Fest Sunday, June 9th from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Yesler Community Center. If you were unable to attend the Green Lake event, please get to Yesler and tell the SPR representatives your big ideas about what the Parks Department should be doing to accommodate the demand for pickleball for the next 12 years. This opportunity may well be the last public meeting before SPR develops its strategic multi-year plan going forward. Budgets will be developed based upon input received from us regarding pickleball. Without your input, there’s the risk that budgets for the next several years will be formulated that don’t adequately consider the growth of our sport and the needs of the pickleball community in greater Seattle.
  • SPR hosts a Pickleball Summit at the Miller Community Center on June 20th from 6:30 PM to 8 PM. This event is solely for pickleball enthusiasts, and SPR representatives will be available to explain various aspects of near-term Pickleball play opportunities that they are considering. They explain that they’ll listen to all suggestions made by the pickleball community. Please attend if at all possible. Think big and voice your opinions.

In the past month SMPA has explored partnerships with a couple of different organizations under which additional venues could be made available. We listen for any available opportunity, and continue to look for creative associations related to our mission of expanding pickleball opportunities.

We hope to see all of you at the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic Tournament scheduled July 26-28, 2019. At this point, registration is going full steam with some brackets filled. However, the tournament can accommodate more players, and for the full brackets, the tournament director is accepting waitlist registrants. There are always last minute withdrawals or injuries that create opportunities for backup players, so do register soon if you want to be part of what is promising to be a great weekend of northwest pickleball. SMPA is inviting several City VIPs to attend this event so that we can demonstrate why a large multi-court regional pickleball facility should be developed in Seattle.

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

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

Summer Pickleball in Seattle

Check out the SMPA website to see the descriptions of summer play events. We’ll try to keep the Play page updated for you. For members, these events provide a good time to see your pickleball pals, and for nonmembers, they’re a good opportunity to see and feel the excitement building for pickleball in Seattle.

  • Outdoor weekly drop in play at Miller, Green Lake, Shoreview, and Delridge pickleball courts (free). Join in the fun.
  • SMPA Pickleball in the Park events will return June through September (free). We’ll broadcast dates soon.
  • 8-week long Leagues – flex and fixed (set fee) have started. Paddles ready!
  • 4th of July Round Robin Shootout – fun play at Green Lake before the fireworks begin.
  • Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament – come play at Shoreview. Sign up here. Registration ends July 29, 2019.

Pickleball Summit at Miller Community Center

SPR wants to hear from a wide cross-section of the pickleball community, and to that end they have scheduled an evening of information gathering and pickleball play. The event is scheduled for Thursday, June 20th, 2019, from 6:30 PM to 8 PM in the Miller Community Center gym (see flyer ad in this newsletter). They have an agenda, and would like to hear from the pickeball community on the following issues:

  • Managing the indoor court schedule to fit all Pickleball within operating hours at each Community Center.
  • Coordinating the indoor Pickleball schedule to best accommodate all levels of play, instructional programs, and greatest community need.
  • How to develop a player skill level rating system where the Pickleball community can self-select to play in defined player groups by skill level. In other words; how do you divide yourselves into beginner, intermediate and advanced/competitive skill levels (and do it on your own).
  • What is the best way to for the Parks and Recreation Department to receive feedback from the community (we are thinking about using Survey Monkey)? And what are some examples of questions that could be in a survey?

June Update for July Pickleball Classic Tournament

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic enters new territory in Shoreline, Washington in July, as the nearly 300 players registered signal pickleball’s resurgence in Seattle. Currently, there are still open player spots for female 4.5/5.0 Open play, with several male partners looking for mixed doubles partners. Check out the Players Needing Partners list on Pickleball Tournaments registration page, and help make pickleball history. There are some great local and national players looking for a partner to get them to the medal stand. We know you’re out there.

Volunteers encouraged to apply! Being there, being a part of the action, being a referee, being a parking guide, or just being a fan, every role is important, and we of SMPA are all in for the weekend of play. You can sign up as a volunteer through SignUp Genius. We’ve asked before, and we’ll keep asking because we need you and want to share the experience and challenges of this big event in our local pickleball community.

Be sure to visit the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament Facebook page for more information about the tournament. We are currently updating our SMPA website to include a page of tournament information, so stay tuned.

Other Pickleball Happenings

SPR June Play Fest at Yesler

SPR is hosting another Park Fest at June 9, 2019 at Yesler Community Center. SPR plans various activities, resources and opportunities they provide to the community. The day features music, food trucks, games, activities, and booths to learn more about Seattle Parks & Recreation. This is another chance to speak out to Seattle City officials about the needs of the pickleball playing community.

Join a Free Refereeing Clinic

Arrive early for parking and bring a camp chair for the opening lecture from teaching professional Tom Grubb. The upcoming Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament will need a minimum of 30 volunteer referees per day. SMPA is hosting free clinics (weather permitting) from 8-11 AM on June 8, June 29, and July 20, 2019 at the Green Lake Pickleball Courts. Following the clinic, you can practice refereeing at the Green Lake courts. Instructor Tom Grubb is a USAPA Certified Referee/Registered Trainer & IPTPA Level II Certified Pickleball Teaching Professional. Join in the fun, learn something new, and give something back to the sport of pickleball.

Playtime Scheduler

Notifying other players about where and when to play is easy with the free tool Playtime Scheduler. Sign in at Playtime Scheduler. Choose Greater Seattle as your area and select, for example, Shoreview or Green Lake or SeaTac, and then you can create a session, indicate the level you’re looking to play with, and make a note about the game you’re organizing. Subscribed users receive email notification of the session. We said free, right? Requires an email account but NO Facebook needed.

Eastside and Westside, all around the Sound

Weekend pickleball play is back at Mercer Island Community Center as of June 2, 2019. Read about it here.

Your support helped! Kirkland is moving forward with the conversion of existing Everest Park outdoor tennis courts into three pickleball courts. Thanks to all who contacted the Kirkland City Parks Manager, Jason Filan, at (425) 587-3341 or jfilan@kirklandwa.gov. Sending a note of thanks never hurts, and we look forward to playing at this renovated facility. And better yet, Jason just broadcasted the following text from the sign posted at the Everest Park courts: Pickleball Renovation – Coming Soon Thank you for your feedback on the proposed renovation to install pickleball courts at Everest Park. With overwhelming Community support for this project, the City of Kirkland will be replacing this tennis court with three dedicated pickleball courts. We expect the new courts to open by mid-July and thank you for your patience while the renovation is underway. Questions? Call 425-587-3341.

More than 150 avid pickleball players showed up for the Woodinville Sports Club Open House in mid May. Call them for open play schedule.

Pickleball Clinics Come to Town

Prepare for your upcoming tournament play in a 2-day clinic with Canadian player and international pickleball coach, Mark Renneson, of ThirdShot Sports, July 15 and 16, 2019, at Woodinville Sports Center. Mark, his clinics, and his upbeat style focus on helping you play your best pickleball. This is a great new facility with outdoor courts and an indoor setting. Prices vary based on session type.

US Open Champion and pro, Tyson McGuffin, brings his signature pickleball playing style and his LevelUp Pickleball Camp to Shoreview pickleball courts in Shoreline, WA August 27-29, 2019. Call Wayne Dollard at 888.308.3720 and visit the LevelUp Pickleball Camps to sign up. Cost is $595 for 3 days (15 hours) of high-level training.

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April 2019 Newsletter

Annual SMPA Member Meeting
Sunday April 7, 2019

Come one, come all dues-paying Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) members to Rainier Community Center for our first ever Annual Member Meeting. If you’ve gotten the invite but haven’t RSVP’d, then do so quickly. We have food to prepare and don’t want to fall short on the cookie count.

We are committed to a short business meeting starting promptly at 12:30 PM to take care of the required tasks, hold a raffle with some great pickleball prizes (Paddles!Hats!Balls!and more) and quick Q&A, and on to the courts. SMPA Board members will be available throughout the afternoon to answer any questions. Play will be divided into 3 courts for rec play with paddle stacks if necessary, and then 3 courts for some competitive games and some form of king/queen of the courts.

Local Seattle Players Medal at IIPC

SMPA members were well represented on the medal stands on the just-concluded International Indoor Pickleball Championships (IIPC) in Centralia, Washington. Billed as the largest indoor pickleball tournament, the 2019 edition enjoyed participation from more than 580 players from the US and Canada this year, up from 2018. A qualifying, sanctioned tournament, the IIPC filled out the Northwest Sports Hub with 31 competition courts, as well as practice courts, a massage station, and a Pickleball Central store. This partial list of SMPA members (please forgive us if we missed you) shows the level of interest in competitive events for players from 3.0 to local professionals.

  • Mary Ann Benack (multi medalist)
  • Frank Chiappone
  • Lynette Danger (medalist)
  • Breann Kay
  • Tom Grubb
  • Theresa Haynie (silver medalist)
  • Marianne Salce Johnson
  • Patrick Johnson
  • John Lui (multi medalist)
  • See Lui (gold medalist)
  • Tonja Major (silver medalist)
  • Oscar Montes
  • Fran Myer (bronze medalist, Hall of Fame)
  • Tuyen Nguyen (multi medalist)
  • Erin O’Rourke (multi medalist)
  • Sean Oldridge
  • Justine Park
  • Tom Paull (medalist)
  • Lisa Schwab (medalist)
  • James Steadman
  • Karen Thomas
  • Kathy Wehle

Congrats to medalists and participants alike. The SMPA tee shirts were abundant on the courts, and that visibility reminded the pickleball world of the high level of play available in the Seattle metro area. As we are writing this newsletter, play is concluding and there are still medals being distributed. If we’ve left you off the list, it’s not intentional, and you can let us know with an email to info@seattlemetropickleball.com and we’ll give you the thanks you deserve for getting on the court under the bright lights of the IIPC.

Foot Fault? Look to the Referee

Here, SMPA member, Ying Zhao, puts her newly minted ref skills to work referring a men’s singles at the just-concluded IIPC.

Sanctioned tournaments can’t happen without referees, and thanks to efforts of SMPA, a batch of newly trained referees filled the ranks in the last week of March at the International Indoor Pickleball Championships down in Centralia. Most of these same pickleball referee/players are now available for the summer and the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic as well.

USAPA Certified Referee Jim Cooke of Pickleball Station in Kent led the training of a handful of SMPA and Green Lake pickleball players. SMPA Board member Sean Oldridge organized the free pickleball Referee clinic in Seattle just before the IIPC tournament. Seven eager students spent their Saturday morning learning the protocols and methods for calling NVZ and service faults, enforcing the official rules, and keeping the peace on the pickleball court during hotly contested games. Afterwards, the newly trained referees traipsed across the street to the Green Lake courts to put all their newfound knowledge to immediate use by refereeing the morning’s recreational games.

Local Seattle running store Super Jock ‘N Jill provided meeting space for the pre-court instruction at their Green Lake location right across the street from the Green Lake pickleball courts.

Preparing for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic Tournament

Registration continues for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic as we reach the 50 percent filled mark. The tournament committee plans for a great summer event, and you can register at PickleballTournaments.com. SMPA members get a $5 discount on the registration fee. Will you be there? We can use you as a volunteer if you don’t want to play as there’s plenty of work keeping the event running smoothly.

Visit the Facebook page for the Seattle Metro Classic tournament for up to date or breaking news about the event.

Other Pickleball Happenings

Playtime Scheduler

Who’s playing and where? Once you register (and it’s free!) in the Playtime Scheduler tool and choose Greater Seattle as your area, you can schedule a game. You can use it to indicate that you’ll be playing at one of the existing Community Center play times, or set up an outdoor game when you select Shoreview or Green Lake or SeaTac, for example. You simply create a session, indicate the level you’re looking to play with, and make any notes relevant to the game you’re trying to set up. Subscribed users receive email notification of the session.

In Memoriam: Bob Hassan

On March 28th, we lost SMPA member Bob Hassan to a terrible tragedy in our city. Bob was a regular at Maple Leaf and then at Green Lake pickleball courts. He also spearheaded and organized outdoor pickleball play at the old Magnuson Park tennis courts last summer. A true sportsman, Bob made friends wherever he played, and we’ll miss his presence on and off the pickleball court. On Saturday, March 30th, players at the Green Lake pickleball courts paused play to hold a brief remembrance ceremony in Bob’s honor.

You, too, Can Renew

February 2019 marked the first of renewal emails on their way to encourage SMPA members to re-up their membership. Seattle METRO Pickleball Association promotes and assists the growth of indoor and outdoor pickleball all around the Seattle area.

You can renew or join SMPA by visiting our website, and with your credit card and by supplying some limited personal information become a member of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association. Note that all financial transactions are managed by a secure third-party membership management app, that we reviewed and selected based on their list management and processing security tools.

The Waiting Game, Illustrated

About 20 people waited for a chance to play on March 12th on the three “advanced” players courts at the Rainier Community Center. More were waiting on the three “recreational” player courts.

SMPA Veep’s April 2019 Message

Pickleball Friends,

Someone, somewhere declared April to be “National Pickleball Month” and we couldn’t be prouder to use April to promote two key events:

  • Our Annual Member meeting on April 7, 2019 from 12:30 to 4 PM at Rainier Community Center
  • Our SMPA unofficial birthday, as our very first meeting was April 17, 2017 at the Top Pot, Fifth Avenue location

Since that meeting at Top Pot Donuts, we organized the first pickleball activism event by getting 30-plus pickleball players to attend the Parks Board of Commissioners Meeting for Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and show the passion and need for pickleball in Seattle. We continued to meet monthly, and decided to form the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association, create our mission statement, form a Board of Directors and become an official IRS nonprofit organization at the end of 2017. Doing so allows us to manage the business dealings that we hope will become the basis of future projects in working with the city of Seattle. Our 501c3 status also means that we can accept tax-deductible donations and matching grants when that time comes that we have a project that might require fundraising.

But wait! There’s more. Some of you have become members because you attended a meet and greet session at Green Lake or Delridge or Miller courts. Others became members because they participated in our tournament last summer or the league play at Soundview pickleball courts. And still more of you became members when we asked that you step up and join in the long road ahead of creating pickleball opportunities in Seattle.

Why do we need you? Because we don’t do this work to stay busy, but to develop the unified voice that the city of Seattle asks for to represent the pickleball community. That means that, if you are reading this and you aren’t yet a member, what’s stopping you? We keep the dues modest at $20, and what we do in exchange is meet monthly with Parks, work to develop more events to provide new and more play opportunities. No matter the reason, we value you as members, and are gratified by the renewals that mark our first year as an official metropolitan pickleball organization.

All that being said, National Pickleball Month is happening all around the country, and many organizations are looking to Seattle and our pickleball community for leadership and expanded play opportunities. SMPA thinks every month is Pickleball Month. Don’t you?

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Theresa Haynie, Vice President (Veep)

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May 2019 Newsletter

That’s a wrap: the 2019 Annual SMPA Member Meeting

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) Board of Directors remembered Bob Hassan, honored the early advocates for pickleball in the region with Joyce Jones and Niki Ryan, gave an ovation to member and Hall of Famer, Fran Myer, held the most concise of business meetings to meet bylaw requirements, and then cheered on play for the 61 members and 25 or so guests who came indoors to Rainier Community Center on April 7th. We greeted members old and new, enjoyed great play on the courts, and shared our accomplishments of the time since our start in 2017 and becoming a registered nonprofit in 2018.

SMPA member Mitsu Clark reads winning raffle ticket number under Director Tom Grubb’s watchful eye. View more pictures

As a first of many annual member meetings, the rainy April afternoon of pickleball was a wonderful display of the community that we are building with the organization. SMPA Board members served as organizers for this first one, and used the occasion to encourage volunteers to join in the fun. We hope to grow the meeting in the coming years to be full day of pickleball, renewed playing relationships, and a confirmation of the vision for pickleball in the Greater Seattle area, where we are driven by commitment to fun, fitness, and friendship in an inclusive and welcoming environment.

Up Next: Summer Pickleball in Seattle

Among the major updates to the SMPA website is the addition of a page filled with summer play events planned for our members. Check out the Play page and put these dates on your calendars. For members, these events provide a good time to see your pickleball pals, and for nonmembers, they’re a good opportunity to see and feel the excitement building for pickleball in Seattle.

  • Outdoor weekly drop in play at Miller, Green Lake, Shoreview, and Delridge pickleball courts (free)
  • Pickleball in the Park returns June through September (free)
  • 8-week long Leagues – flex and fixed (set fee)
  • 4th of July Round Robin Shootout – start your day with a bang, a dink, or a lob. Details to follow.
  • Registration required for the Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament – and it’s almost full!

Rainbow Recreation at Miller Community Center

Working hard to keep the adult community fit and engaged, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has a full schedule of Rainbow fitness activities focused on the LGBTQ community. When we realized that the schedule did not include pickleball, a quick email and call got us on the schedule. For 8 weeks, starting in July, Rainbow Recreation will offer an Introduction to Pickleball class each Thursday morning at Miller Community Center. There is a small fee for the class that will feature a series of instructors from the SMPA pickleball community. Spread the word, or come out and play with the group ready to pick up paddles and keep moving.

Rainbow Recreation is a partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation and Generations Aging with Pride to provide recreational opportunities for LGBTQ adults 50+.

What it takes to run a Tournament

To tournament players, picking a partner, registering, and practicing together may constitute much of the work required to do well. For those involved in making the tournament itself succeed, there is oh, so much more. The Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament scheduled for July 26-28th, 2019, began as a gleam in the competitive eyes of SMPA members Patrick and Marianne Johnson of Edmonds, and then grabbed the attention of SMPA board member and Play committee chair, Frank Chiappone, events chair, Sean Oldridge, and local pro player, Tonja Major. Along with several more tournament fanatics, the Seattle Metro Classic has morphed into a 200+ player event that may well be the biggest, to date, pickleball tournament in the Seattle metro area. These events don’t happen by magic.

What Patrick and Marianne dreamed of now has major outside sponsors, volunteers, pro players, and the services of Mike Hoxie, owner of Pickleball Is Great (PIG) and a well-known tournament organizer in the Pacific Northwest. The tournament expects to draw close to 250 players, will require 100+ volunteers, 60 or more trained referees, and offers a full weekend of pickleball competition and fun at beautiful Shoreview Park in Shoreline, Washington.

The level of planning going into the tournament is an amazing display of commitment to the sport of pickleball. Meetings started in January, and continue now weekly as the Tournament Committee ramps up to fill out the player, sponsor, and volunteer rosters. SMPA member and local pickleball player, Joan Hanson, has been buttonholing potential volunteers in between her play and writing quilting books. With full support of the SMPA Board, the tournament organizers are drawing from the membership to fill out roles that will include Guest Relations hosts, bathroom patrol, player check in, tournament management, court buildout, and more.

Why should you get involved? For one, the energy surrounding a tournament is just different, to quote an USAPA Ambassador. The energy field is elevated, the play ticks up several levels, the air is abuzz with chatter about play and players and exciting points and dramatic wins and losses. You head home at the end of the day with a head filled with thoughts of points that should have been won, games that were fulfilling and fun and supercharged, and if you’re among the lucky players, a medal around your neck. And if you’re not a medalist, you’ll have new war stories to share.

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic can happen only because of the tenacity of the handful of players who got together to say “let’s put on a tournament.” And following on their enthusiasm, expertise, and love of the sport, a tournament happens. This particular tournament, on the heels of its smaller version that kicked off in the summer of 2018, makes the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic another pin in the must-play pickleball tournament map, and it doesn’t happen without the many hours that the committee has already put in, and the many hours still to go. The Tournament Committee invites all SMPA members and local pickleball players to be a part of history and help make the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic a memorable and successful tournament. Sign up as a volunteer through SignUp Genius. We need you and want to share the experience and, yes, the workload of this fun event in our local pickleball community.

Visit the Facebook page for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament for up to date or breaking news about the event.

May Membership Drive

If we, the Board and members of SMPA, haven’t thanked you for your membership, allow us to do that now! As we close in on almost 250 members, know that your voice is critical to the work we do to get more play time, more painted courts, and ultimately, dedicated pickleball facilities in the Seattle Metro area.

You may be tagged by a membership committee member in May as we urge you to renew or join SMPA. Click here, enter your credit card and some limited personal information, and lend your voice to the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association family. You may notice when you join or renew that all financial transactions are managed by a secure third-party membership management app, that we reviewed and selected based on their list management and processing security tools.

Other Pickleball Happenings

Action Alert for Kirkland Pickleball

Your support is needed: speak up for plans for dedicated pickleball courts right here in Kirkland, Washington. The City of Kirkland is weighing the conversion of existing Everest Park outdoor tennis courts into three pickleball courts. Before they proceed, they need to hear from you. Who doesn’t want more dedicated pickleball courts? Now is the time to contact the Kirkland City Parks Manager, Jason Filan, by calling him at (425) 587-3341 or emailing him at jfilan@kirklandwa.gov. More details in our Action Alert page.

SPR June Play Fests at Green Lake and Yesler

SPR is hosting a Parks & Rec Fest at Green Lake Park and Community Center on Saturday, June 1st from 10 AM to 3 PM, and a week later on June 9th at Yesler Community Center. SPR plans to showcase various activities, resources and opportunities they provide to the community. The day features music, food trucks, games, activities, and booths to learn more about Seattle Parks & Recreation. Pickleball, too! Bring sunscreen (we hope) and your paddles. SMPA will be there to demo and play.

Give back to the sport? Become a referee!

In anticipation of the coming summer tournament season, including the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament, Tom Grubb will be hosting free referee clinics (weather permitting) from 8 to 9:30 AM on May 25, June 8, and June 29, 2019 at the Green Lake Pickleball Courts. Get there early to find parking.

Playtime Scheduler

Want to get players on the courts for play at Yost, Shoreview, Green Lake, or wherever? Sign up at Playtime Scheduler. Choose Greater Seattle as your area and select, for example, Shoreview or Green Lake or SeaTac, and then simply create a session, indicate the level you’re looking to play with, and make a note about the game you’re organizing. Subscribed users receive email notification of the session. It’s free and very functional.

Eastside and Westside, all around the Sound

Mercer Island pickleball news includes concerns over the performance of the Onix Fuse ball, and a plan to reopen the indoor facilities after the failure of the levy last fall. Read about it here.

Eckstein court project, run by Kathy Schmidtke, is on track, and she has updates to share.

New Indoor Pickleball Venue in Woodinville

Eastside pickleball players Mimi and Mark Dymetrko happily announce the coming opening of a new indoor pickleball venue after years of searching. Opening in mid-May, the newest indoor option in Woodinville offers 8 pristine indoor pickleball courts on recently resurfaced tennis courts. Designed to be spacious with good lighting, this sport club is set in the beautiful wine country of Woodinville, Washington.

Save the date: the Open House is set for Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 3 to 6 PM. Pickleball players are invited to come and check out the facility and set up some pickleball play times. They welcome all pickleball players and expect to share more details as the venue becomes operational for pickleball.

SMPA President’s Message

Pickleball Friends,

Let me start by giving kudos to our volunteer Planning Committee on the first rate job with the first Annual Member’s Meeting. This sets the bar for our future Annual Meetings, and we are grateful to our volunteers and our membership for a festive pickleball celebration.

Summer 2019 promises to be an active pickleball season, as our Play Committee is committed to a full schedule of SMPA Summer Play events (see article in this newsletter). Allow me to take this opportunity to gently remind everyone of our Code of Conduct that is intended to encourage a welcoming environment, promote sportsmanship and facilitate friendship and the growth of pickleball. We are all ambassadors of pickleball and the success of our sport depends upon every one of us. Take a moment to review the Code of Conduct.

Now for what many of you are asking about, the SMPA and Seattle Parks and Rec (SPR) bi-weekly meetings discussing the presence and the future of pickleball in Seattle.

  • On May 1, 2019, three of your SMPA officer/directors met with seven SPR representatives who are principal decision makers for SPR on pickleball matters. I was gratified to participate in setting the tone and agenda.
  • The ranking SPR official present was Justin Cutler, the new Recreation Services Director for the City of Seattle. Justin works directly under the new Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, Jesus Aguirre.

Among the discussions and decisions made at this SMPA-SPR meeting, these stand out:

  • First, Mr. Cutler approved the continuation of regular meetings with SMPA to work on improving pickleball opportunities in the metropolitan area. We believe that this was another important step because it shows recognition of SMPA and the pickleball community at the highest levels of SPR.
  • Second, in response to an the SMPA request, pickleball will now be specifically included as a city recognized activity in the SPR sports budget going forward.
  • Third, SPR granted their approval of location and venue requests for the Summer Play Schedule activities. We expect to sign the agreement to formalize this decision this week.
  • Fourth, with SMPA’s support, we learned that SPR plans to hold a public “Pickleball Summit” at Miller Community Center in early June 2019. Jayson Powell, Recreation Program Coordinator for Adult Sports, expects to set the date soon. The purpose of this “summit” is to receive input from as many pickleball players in the metropolitan area as possible regarding what the pickleball community wants and how SPR can help. In addition, we have been discussing establishing a pickleball advisory committee with SPR to improve communications between the City and the pickleball playing public. This idea may be introduced at the Summit. We will keep up you posted regarding the date as soon as possible. This important opportunity lets everyone voice their preferences for SPR regarding pickleball. The summit will focus solely upon pickleball.
  • Finally, the SPR attendees confirmed that two public general meetings, both Parks & Rec Fests, are scheduled by SPR with the goal of gathering input to be considered in the development of the SPR long-range Strategic Plan, expected to be adopted later this year. The first meeting will be June 1, 2019 at the Green Lake Community Center. The second meeting will be June 9th at the Yesler Community Center. We strongly encourage all pickleball players to attend these events.

The Parks & Rec Fest meetings will determine to what extent pickleball receives substantive consideration in the City’s overall long range Strategic Plan in the foreseeable future and will include all sports and park facilities. Once this plan is adopted, budgets will be set to achieve the Strategic Plan goals. Later budget requests for pickleball may not be possible. So, please attend the summit, respond to the SPR surveys and make your voice heard!

As SMPA has grown and our relationship with City representatives has evolved and strengthened through many meetings, the pickleball community has gained more of a voice in promoting pickleball opportunities and venues with the City. However, we still have a long way to go. The larger our SMPA membership base, the stronger our community pickleball voice will be. We value wide representation of the pickleball community, and the City expects the same. We strongly encourage your friends who have not yet joined to do so today. When they become SMPA members, we extend to them the same invitation we give to all SMPA members: share your thoughts and suggestions about how we can improve pickleball opportunities in the Seattle metro area, and then work with us to make it happen.

One last note: The Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic Tournament, scheduled for July 26 to 28, 2019, has well over 225 players registered as of this newsletter. Registration closes when registrants reach the maximum number that can be accommodated (250 or 300 to be determined by the Tournament Committee). Don’t wait! If you want to participate in this Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament, jump on to the Pickleball Tournaments website today. I hope to see many of you there as players, volunteers, referees, or viewers. All are welcome for this exciting sanctioned metro area pickleball tournament.

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

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

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March 2019 Newsletter

Annual SMPA Member Meeting
Sunday April 7, 2019

Check your email inbox for the invites, as we encourage all dues-paying Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) members to come to Rainier Community Center for our first ever Annual Member Meeting.

A very short business meeting should take care of legalities, handing out the raffle prizes, a quick Q&A, and then we can get down the fun stuff of playing on the 6 indoor courts. We have the gym reserved from the meeting start at 12:20 PM until 4 PM, and are hoping to get in lots of play. In addition to vying for the raffle prizes (paddles, hats, balls), you can meet many of the other area pickleball players who’ve come together to move pickleball forward in the Seattle metro area. more pickleball venues created in the metro area.

Pickleball Activism

SMPA has yet to see a final SPR report on the 2018 Pickleball Pilot project. In addition to being an active member of SMPA, your persistent comments to those in the city who control our access to pickleball venues is part of the grand plan.

If you haven’t done so, send an email message to remind SPR that pickleball players in Seattle need their support. You can click the following links and from your email app or account send an email to Christopher Williams, acting Seattle Parks superintendent, and also to the Board of Park Commissioners.

SMPA member Dan McGee shares his experience teaching pickleball in middle school with Physical Education teachers from all over Washington State at Chief Sealth High School on February 2nd.

Pickleball Scheduler App

Little by little, court by court, game by game, Seattle pickleball players are exploring and using the game-scheduling tool that we introduced this winter, Playtime Scheduler. Modified by the California developer for Seattle and select other regions, the Playtime Scheduler tool lets you register, then after you choose Greater Seattle as your area, schedule a game. You can use it to indicate that you’ll be playing at one of the existing Community Center play times, or set up a game outside the programmed times when you select Shoreview or Green Lake or SeaTac, for example. You simply create a session, indicate the level you’re looking to play with, and make any notes (advanced, all levels welcome, and so on.). Subscribed users receive email notification of the session.

Playtime Scheduler’s real value should be apparent this summer when Green Lake Pickleball courts and Shoreview Pickleball courts battle for which can book more players in on a daily basis. SMPA members already fill those courts on the weekends, despite the cold and wet mornings. Still, the play is hot, and the Playtime Scheduler should help players set up and use the courts all day long. Give it a try – and no, SMPA is not associated and makes no money off the service to our local pickleball community. Let’s get out and play!

International Indoor Pickleball Championships

The last week of March brings us to the International Indoor Pickleball Championship (IIPC) to be held at the NW Sports Hub, Centralia, Washington. The tournament runs from Tuesday, March 26th through Sunday March 31st.

This very fun, challenging tournament serves as a qualifying event for those who plan to play in the 2019 USAPA National Pickleball Championship in 2019. You can sign up until March 12, 2019 by going to Pickleball Tournaments. Join your local and Canadian pals for this great indoor event.

Register now for summer Classic Tournament – and Volunteer, Too

Registration for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic opens Saturday, March 2nd so jump on now and register. SMPA members get a $5 discount on the registration fee. The tournament committee is hard at work on building out the Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament. From lining up sponsors, arranging for referees, pro participants, housing for visiting pros, the committee is working to make sure that the largest Seattle area pickleball tournament will succeed. Prize money, great play, engaged volunteers, this opportunity to present the first large pickleball tournament in metro Seattle (Shoreline) can only help to put Seattle, next door to the birthplace of pickleball, squarely on the map of pickleball destinations.

Visit the Facebook page for the Seattle Metro Classic tournament for up to date or breaking news about the event.

And in other news…

Spring Outdoor Play

Looking for a game? As the weather improves, you’ll find players starting up early at Green Lake Pickleball Courts and Shoreview in North Seattle, Miller in central Seattle, Delridge in West Seattle, Perrigo Park in Redmond, and Bellevue International School. Want to play Pickleball Station? Be sure to call first, as they’ve been running great tournaments all winter long. Let’s hit the courts!

Facebook Pickleball Groups

If you follow Pickleball Forum on Facebook, you already know that pickleball players have lots of questions about rules, play, and places to play. When you’re traveling, the USAPA app Places2Play is your best guide, as the Places2Play displays a map and provides the best known info about times and locations.

And if you’re lucky enough to travel internationally, FaceBook can be a great resource for locating local pickleball groups and contacts. Use the search feature in Facebook to look for the name of the city or country you’re visiting, or search for city+pickleball to locate a local pickleball club or group. Go to interesting places, make new friends, play pickleball. Have paddle, will travel.

Renew or Join SMPA Today

February 2019 marks the first renewal emails on their way to encourage our association members to re-up their membership. We’re Seattle METRO Pickleball Association because we promote and assist the growth of pickleball all around the Seattle area.

You can help us grow. Renew or join SMPA by clicking here, and with your credit card and by supplying some limited personal information become a member of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

 SMPA member Richelle Kulju helps SMPA Director Tom Grubb demonstrate how pickleball is played in front of Physical Education teachers from all over Washington State at Chief Sealth High School on February 2nd, 2019.

SMPA President’s March 2019 Message

Pickleball Friends,

SMPA is completing our first year of active membership and most of our members’ yearly membership renewals are coming due. I want to personally urge you all to renew your SMPA membership. Our sport is growing by faster than a Tyson McGuffin slam. The USAPA now estimates that more than 3 million people are playing in this country alone. As I play at different pickleball venues this past year, I see them filled to capacity with players waiting for their 20 minutes of game play.

What can SMPA do for pickleball? SMPA provides a vocal and visible platform for pickleball players both competitive and casual to realize their goals and aspirations. We are working to help local players have their needs addressed. We collate and share current information about what’s going in our sport. Having a substantial and representative membership is the life blood of SMPA. It allows us to speak with larger unified voice in the Seattle metropolitan pickleball community. This is particularly important as we interact on your behalf with the Seattle Parks and Recreations Department in order to increase pickleball opportunities for everyone. The power of numbers of members cannot be underestimated. And having a representative and substantial membership base materially impacts what we are able to achieve.

In the past year, we have been active in working with the City to improve and expand opportunities to play pickleball throughout Seattle. League play, tournaments, equipment and increased available court times have resulted from the work of your organization. It has been my privilege to act as SMPA’s government liaison in working with SPR on a variety of projects. With much accomplished in 2018, we know we have more work to do. We anticipate even larger projects to be accomplished or begun in 2019. We will continue to keep you posted on our progress. We welcome volunteers to assist us in every aspect of our efforts. We remain grateful for the work of the many volunteers who made for several successful events this past year. We invite you to put your mark on the pickleball scene in Seattle area by volunteering to help us grow the sport.

On April 7th, SMPA proudly holds our initial annual members meeting at the Rainier Community Center. I encourage all members to attend. We plan to have a short business meeting with an opportunity for you to ask any questions. We are genuinely interested in what you want to SMPA to focus on in the year ahead, so please ask any questions and bring us your ideas.

After the business portion of the meeting, members will have an opportunity to play on the indoor courts, so don’t forget your paddles. Also, throughout the afternoon, all directors will be available to respond to any questions that we might not have been able to cover during the business portion of the event. I look forward to seeing you all at this very fun event.

Thank you again for your support this past year. On behalf of the SMPA Board of Directors, we look forward to serving your pickleball needs in the year ahead.

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

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February 2019 Newsletter

SPR Surveyed – You Answered

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) published a survey in November 2018 regarding pickleball in Seattle. More than 240 pickleball players took the survey, and they released the results in early January 2019. The survey doesn’t cover much territory, and there is no result that indicate SPR departmental plans for pickleball. You can click here to review the survey in Adobe portable document format (PDF).

SAVE THE DATE: Annual SMPA Member Meeting Sunday April 7, 2019

Yes, the SMPA Board plans to be out in force, paddles in hand, with a short meeting agenda to tell you about where we are and what’s ahead. The fun event is expected to include a couple of vendors, a raffle, food, and importantly, some play time for all who attend. Stay tuned, and with the March and April newsletters we’ll fill in the blanks and send out evites to all dues-paid SMPA members.

No News for Now on Pickleball Pilot Report

While we await the final SPR report on the 2018 Pickleball Pilot project, the Seattle Parks department’s planning process is underway. We expect there to be a period for public comments on the plan in the Spring. Meanwhile, if you want to let SPR know what you want for pickleball in Seattle, send an email to Christopher Williams, acting Seattle Parks superintendent, and also to the Board of Park Commissioners. While no single email is going to change their stance, the more they hear from pickleball players, the better.

So What if it’s Winter? Green Lake Plays On

SMPA has been organizing drop in play at the Green Lake Pickleball Courts throughout the winter from 9 AM – 12 PM every Saturday and Sunday. As luck would have it, the weather has been somewhat cooperative most weekends, despite our typical rain-filled winter months. The Green Lake players don’t really let a little rain get between them and a few rousing games of pickleball. Braving cold early morning temperatures and, at times, dense fog, most weekends have seen between 20 to 50 people enjoying the Green Lake outdoor pickleball courts. The high point to date came this past January 26th when a rare blue sky day and unseasonably warm temperatures drew more than 70 players out to the courts, the most ever for a single day at the Green Lake Courts.

To help ease the congestion at Green Lake, SMPA members Dorrena Ortega and Tim Williams started organizing drop in play Saturdays beginning at 9 AM at Shoreview Park in Shoreline. Shoreview Park has 6 pickleball courts lined out without nets, but Dorrena and Tim are committed to bringing nets and balls each Saturday, weather permitting. They had 5 courts going the first two Saturdays with about two dozen folks turning out to play.

There is no cost to play at either location, although we accept donations onsite to help defer the cost of reservations and supplies (think line tape and chalk and balls).

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Register in March – Play in July in our SMPA Classic Tournament

Sunshine, blue skies and majestic Mount Rainier on the horizon are all summer staples in Seattle. Against this backdrop, join us for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic, the largest outdoor tournament the greater Seattle area has ever seen. Set in a gorgeous park along the shores of the Puget Sound, this tournament features 16 courts, two practice courts, cash prizes for OPEN divisions, and competitive skill divisions ranging from 3.0 – 4.5 for ages 19+ and 50+.

This three-day tournament, celebrating our dedicated local pickleball community and benefiting SMPA, welcomes first-time participants, tournament veterans and our top local players and pros from across the northwest. Registration opens March 2, 2019 on Pickleball Tournaments website.

And in other news…

Eckstein Middle School Pickleball Update

URGENT: Community Meeting Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 from 6:30 to 8 PM at the Eckstein Middle School Library – 3003 NE 75th Ave NE, 98115

Seattle Schools Self Help office and Friends of Eckstein MS Pickleball urge Seattle pickleball players to attend a community meeting and design workshop for the proposed build out of pickleball courts on the Eckstein Middle School grounds. The landscape architectural firm and project leaders encourage local pickleball players to bring ideas and questions. They expect to have 1 or 2 final court layout scenarios at future meetings in March and April. Enter only through the school’s front door that faces NE 75th. Join their SMS mailing list for updates by texting the keyword EMSpickleball to 22828.

International Indoor Pickleball Championships

Registration is still open for the International Indoor Pickleball Championship (IIPC) at the NW Sports Hub, Centralia, Washington. This tournament draws players from US and Canada, and runs from Tuesday 03/26/19 through Sunday 03/31/19. This very fun, challenging tournament is a qualifying event for those who plan to play in the USAPA National Pickleball Championship in 2019. You can sign up by going to Pickleball Tournaments website until March 12, 2019. Join your local and Canadian pals for this great indoor event.

Now’s the Time: Join SMPA

If you haven’t joined SMPA yet, you can do that here, and with your credit card and by supplying some limited personal information become a member of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

Winter Play in Seattle

Yup, still playing and going strong outdoors. Bundled up for the cooler weather, Green Lake pickleball courts often draw more than 50 players on Saturdays and Sundays. Barring a monsoon-level rain, the North Seattle pickleball players fill 6 to 8 courts. Too busy for you? There are pickleball lines painted at Soundview tennis courts, Discovery Park, Miller (where there is a semipermanent net available at all times), Delridge (West Seattle), South Park, and Georgetown. Further north, you can head to Shoreline and check out the nicely resurfaced courts at the south end of Shoreview Park just behind Shoreline Community College. Don’t let a little cold weather slow you down.

 SMPA members making good use of the new semi-permanent pickleball net on the Miller Playfield Pickleball and Tennis Courts.

Try out the Pickleball Scheduler App

Setting up play times around Seattle has gotten a little easier for pickleball players. Now you can go to www.playtimescheduler.com and register, and select Greater Seattle as your area. Then, when you want to set up a pickleball game at Shoreview or Green Lake or SeaTac or at any of the indoor Seattle venues, you simply create a session, indicate the level you’re looking to play with, and make any notes (advanced, all levels welcome, and so on.) for all others who’ve subscribed to Greater Seattle. They’ll get an email notification of the session. This app comes to us from the Sacramento, California pickleball community, where they’ve been successfully scheduling pickleball matches for a couple of years now. Try it out and let us know what you think (infoseattlemetropickleball.com). Let’s get out and play!

2019 Message from the President

Hello Pickleball Friends,

Bears may hibernate in winter, but not pickleball players, nor the SMPA Board. Let me tell you some of the happenings since our December 2018 Newsletter.

  • The Board completed the initial investigation of more than three dozen potential sites for developing dedicated pickleball courts, and has narrowed that list to eight for further research and evaluation. SMPA members Tim Williams and Mary Ann Benack have volunteered to assist with critical demographic analyses in the neighborhoods near the remaining sites. They are using the City of Seattle’s Racial, Equity and Justice tool kit as a model as well as many other resources. This work is time intensive and we expect to keep you informed as it progresses.
  • SMPA Board members have held several meetings with SPR representatives to both work with the City to obtain more pickleball courts and to improve communications between the City and the greater pickleball community. There have been some recent changes in responsibilities for SPR personnel with whom we have dealt in the past. We have met the successors and are confident that our relationships will continue to grow. We are hopeful that the City will soon announce plans for improving coordination and communication with the Seattle pickleball community, and we are working with SPR reps to facilitate that.
  • SMPA members Dan Magee and Tom Grubb are set to make a presentation on February 2nd to the Seattle School District’s annual regional BEST WEST conference for PE teachers. This even typically draws between 200 and 300 PE teachers. Dan and Tom’s presentation will include a lesson plan to enable PE teachers to teach students pickleball during 45 minute classes. Afterward Tom will provide skills assistance to the teachers during an open play period.
  • Conversations are ongoing with SPR to provide more pickleball courts at Green Lake to meet the very high demand. We are optimistic that accommodations will be forthcoming and will keep you posted as the discussions progress.
  • SMPA timely fulfilled all of its obligations for the $5000 grant we received last fall for the purchase of three semi-permanent pickleball nets. We are hoping to apply for similar grants in the near future depending upon demand.
  • SMPA members Larry Kirchner, Jeff Jolley and Drew Thoresen volunteered to conduct nine week “skills and drills” class at South Park. Registrants exceeded capacity and to date the class has received rave reviews. Hopefully similar classes can be offered in the Spring. If any members are interested in volunteering to hold classes on any aspect of pickleball this Spring please contact me.
  • We continue to plan for and explore more fun events for this year. Tournaments? Leagues? Clinics? Open Play? We’ll keep you apprised as they develop.
  • Our first SMPA Member’s Meeting is set for the afternoon of April 7th at the Rainier Community Center. There will be a very short business meeting in order to introduce our Board members, and all for member input. This will be followed with open pickleball play on courts reserved for dues-paid members who attend the meeting. Directors will be available to answer member questions throughout the afternoon. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Thank you for your continuing support of SMPA and for all that each of you do as ambassadors of pickleball! See you on the pickleball courts.

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President

Your SMPA Membership – Join and Volunteer

February 2019 marks the first renewal emails on their way to encourage our association members to re-up their membership. We’re Seattle METRO Pickleball Association because we promote and assist the growth of pickleball all around the Seattle area. You can help us grow.

The SMPA Board is made up of pickleball players who, like many of you, grow frustrated by long waits to play or by the appalling lack of courts in the Seattle area. We volunteer our time, energy, and money to build and sustain this organization with the mission of growing pickleball play opportunities in Seattle. We need your help, as a member of our still growing organization, to do the work required: hold play events, assist in membership drives, teach clinics, and help plan SMPA events throughout the year.

Want to do more? We’d love to get you involved with our ongoing activities. If you have marketing or event-planning, fund raising or other skills, send us a message to volunteersseattlemetropickleball.com and we promise to get back to you quickly and find a good fit for your skills.

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Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

What’s with the Pickleball Pilot Program?

The City of Seattle completed the Pickleball Pilot Program that ran officially from October 2017 to October 2018. During that period, they painted 24 courts at 7 different tennis courts around the City.

What we know is this:

  • Green Lake rocked, and continues to rock pickleball, what with 45+ players showing up on the weekends. That’s pretty incredible, considering that the Green Lake northeast tennis courts were painted for only two pickleball courts. Ever resourceful, the SMPA guys, Sean and Frank, who reserved the courts and managed them all summer and into the fall, simply taped out more courts as needed. We “built” ’em, and players came.
  • Miller Playfield had four pickleball courts painted out, and now have a semipermanent net there as well, and hosted a steady stream of players for Thursday night play under the lights. Yes, lights. Outside. Fun times, and as soon as the winter weather abates, we expect it to be a popular Central District pickleball hotspot to supplement their indoor play.
  • Soundview Courts in the Olympic Hills/Crown Hill area of northwest Seattle let us run a summer pickleball league as a pilot program. And we’ve heard anecdotally from players that live in that area that the courts have been a great addition to the park there. Quiet now, you can check out nets and start playing there on dry winter days.
  • Discovery Park was the site for our Seattle Metro Classic tournament, a fun couple of weekends that let us cut our teeth on running a tournament. Don’t let the lack of nets stop you: let the Parks Department know that we need more nets. Semipermanent ones would be great.
  • West Seattle, too, saw a steady stream of players making use of their outdoor courts to help manage the overflow at Delridge Community Center and to enjoy the lovely summer weather. Fun games, good friends, hot pickleball.
  • Georgetown drew some local players, and South Park is just too unhealthy to play at. Between basketball posts too close to the back line and Highway 99 trucks dumping diesel exhaust right onto the court, outdoor play there is not an option. However, indoors, Monday-Wednesday-Friday play is hotly competitive. Having outdoor courts for the overflow would be great. Someday.

And what the city of Seattle Parks knows now is that the demand for pickleball courts grows weekly and will only increase. If there are any limits at all, it’s the lack of courts. Indoor, outdoor, pickleball deserves a permanent place in their budgeting and long-term plans. SMPA meets with the project planners to stay on top of their plans, and to continue to press for courts.

Seattle Pickleball Players at USAPA National Pickleball Championships

For all who went to the desert to play or simply watch the Pickleball matches at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the consensus is that it was a complete blast. The intense heat of the first few days was a sideshow to some really great pickleball. Imagine being at summer camp where all the cool counselors are the best pickleball players in the country, if not the world. Top professionals, local legends, players of all ages (amazing pre-teen players from Southern California), and abilities, with play starting at 3.0 level up to the professionals made for great games from dawn until the lights shut down around midnight. There were no losers here, as the USAPA created and managed a spectacular tournament.

John Lui reaches for a low shot while David Park defends his court in the 3.5 Men’s Doubles

Seattle and the metro area were well represented up and down the age and skill spectrum at the USAPA National Pickleball Championships in Indian Wells, California this past November. This isn’t a comprehensive list, so if we missed someone, please let us know.

  • Senior pickleball locals Gil Middleton and Yim Lee competed in the 80+ division men’s doubles, and Yim took home bronze in singles.
  • David Park and John Lui competed in the Men’s Doubles 3.5 and 35+, and while they didn’t win a medal, John took home Gold for his singles play.

USAPA deserves many kudos for a well run tournament that showcased the sport for a national audience and with free entry, let local fanatics fill the stands and crowd around the courts every day to take in the non-stadium court play. Stadium court, reserved for medal matches and celebrity play, sold out for the last few days of the tournament, and the fireworks on the court helped offset the cool night air. If you weren’t among those who took to the desert for the event this year, book your hotel now for next year. USAPA has a few registration changes in store, but there’ll be plenty of time to let that settle while those who want to play with their counterparts from across the US can start working on their pickleball games. You’ll want to be there.

Fran Myer inducted into the USAPA Pickleball Hall of Fame

Fran Myer likens her induction to the USAPA Pickleball Hall of fame to a Forrest Gump moment, because she feels like she’s been running around, learning how to play pickleball, dragging others onto the courts, building out a pickleball sales business, playing tournaments, organizing the first National Pickleball Tournament, and is still surprised to be honored for her work.

“I wasn’t an athlete,” says the height-challenged player, “and my background was in ballet from the age of 5 until 12, piano throughout high school. I had a lot of music in my background.” Fran attended the University of Washington, where she met her PE requirement by taking a swim test, which when she failed, meant she had to take swimming. Fortunately for the pickleball world, she passed up swimming post college and found another passion, pickleball.

“I was working at UW and they had a pickleball court at the IMA (intramural sports facility),” and Fran took to dragging her coworkers from the Urban Horticulture Center, now the UW Botanical Gardens) to play, “and I brought the paddles and the balls and got these people to come.”

Not much later, she gave in to the allure of tournament play. In fact, that’s where she met her husband Barney. Another Hall of Famer, Sid Williams, tagged Fran to play with some guy needing a partner. They played together, and then several tournaments later, played again. They met in 2000 and married in 2002. Together, they took Fran’s early work on PickleballStuff.com and grew what she started as a website to offer up rules, how to build courts, and so on. “People would email me and ask me where to buy this (pickleball) stuff, and I’d send them to Pickleball Inc. This kept happening over and over. Eventually, I just started selling pickleball stuff myself.”

We went on to talk about the long nights packaging up equipment to ship around the globe. “We wound up selling to people all over the world, Guam, Singapore, Cypress, and even Fiji. And all the states.”

By the time Fran’s husband passed away in 2014, Fran and her pickleball venture, and her reputation as a teacher and organizer, were already Hall-of-Fame worthy. The first National tournaments existed because of the efforts of Fran and the handful of Seattle players working to grow the sport. But the bright lights of Indian Wells not only dazzled the 2000-plus players there, but shone brightly on Fran Myer as she was recognized for her work to develop pickleball.

When asked what she wants for pickleball moving forward, Fran said, “Where it’s headed, given the fact that it has grown so fast, it’ll become an Olympic sport. It won’t be very much longer before people will start lobbying for including it in the Olympics.”

Fran acknowledged, “The thing is, pickleball grew so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with it. Before we could even say we needed a computerized program to manage the tournaments, we were already getting so many people signing up for them, you just have to run to keep up.” She said that personally, she “wanted there to be pickleball no matter where (she) went…Hartford, CT, Ashland, OR, and California.”

She concluded that “I totally believe in this sport for the health benefits. You’re a winner because you’re out there playing.”

Registration is open for International Indoor Pickleball Championships

Calling all indoor pickleball players. Registration opened this weekend for the International Indoor Pickleball Championship (IIPC) at NW Sports Hub, Centralia, WA, Tuesday 03/26/19 thru Sunday 03/31/19. This excellent tournament is a qualifying event for those who plan to play in the USAPA National Pickleball Championship in 2019.

In the opening hours of registration, the tournament drew 160 players of what will likely wind up being around 500 or more participants. You can play, volunteer, referee, and otherwise meet and enjoy pickleball with an international crowd. This tournament tends to pull some of our Canadian pickleballers across the border, so come and join the fun, eh? See PickleballTournaments.com and navigate to the registration page to sign up for this great indoor venue.

And in other news…

Looking for games during the winter?

Seattle evening and weekend pickleball is being preempted by the children’s basketball season. There are still some options available, and here’s what we’re suggesting. send an email to Christopher Williams, the Parks superintendent, and also to the Board of Park Commissioners. No single email is going to change their stance, but the more they hear from pickleball players, the better.

Eckstein Middle School Pickleball Update

The organizers for this project to resuscitate the existing school courts for pickleball have scheduled a meeting for December 3rd (Monday) at 6:30 – 7:30 PM (meeting room open at 6:15) in the Seattle Public Library NE Branch (35th Ave and NE 68th St). The purpose of the meeting is to provide general information about what is coming in the months ahead, solicit initial project feedback and answer any questions.

Still More Seattle City Planning on the Horizon

Seattle Parks department’s planning process is underway. There should be an opportunity for public comments on the plan in the Spring. We’ll keep you posted if we learn anything new on this.

Holiday Gift Planning

We’re Seattle METRO Pickleball Association for a reason, and that means we want to promote and assist in the growth of pickleball all around the area. Help us grow and plan to get involved with our activities.

If you’re looking for a holiday gift for your favorite partner…

An SMPA membership makes for wonderful gift any time of the year. At twenty bucks (US) and no wrapping, you’ve checked off a gift and helped SMPA grow our membership.

Want to give something more?

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association is a registered 501c3 organization, yes, non-profit, and your year-end, tax deductible contributions would be both deeply appreciated and 100% used to promote pickleball in the area. And ultimately? Your gift will help SMPA in our important work of creating and increasing pickleball play opportunities.

Calling all wannabe refs

2019 promises more tournament action than ever, and therefore will require more refs for sanctioned and nonsanctioned tournaments alike. While we don’t have any specific workshops for refs on the schedule yet, we hope to get a series going early in the next year. Between the International Indoor Pickleball Championship in Centralia in March 2019, and a late-July regional tournament (details being ironed out) in Shoreline, the demand for referees is growing. Keep an eye on the SMPA website, follow the newsletter, and we’ll let you know as soon as something’s on the schedule.

Message from the President

Greetings all,

In the last two months, SMPA has been working to implement the board’s strategic plan goals set out in the last newsletter. Not always very visible to the members, our Board activities include:

  • Investigating several potential sites for dedicated pickleball courts. Our committee has begun to evaluate them using a common set of criteria approved by SPR. We are winnowing the list to focus on sites that will best serve the metropolitan area and the strong demand for more courts. All of this work is in the preliminary stages, but we will keep you informed of our progress as substantive recommendations evolve.
  • As part of the effort of engaging with the City of Seattle to help develop more pickleball courts, SMPA Board members received orientation from SPR on the use and application of the Racial, Equity and Justice tool kit which the City wants included in any analysis of potential courts on city property. The purpose of this tool kit is to provide a means of ensuring availability of city programs and facilities to persons of diverse demographic backgrounds and geographic areas. This intense work is something we gladly took on in the interest of developing pickleball for all.
  • SMPA accepted an invitation from the Seattle School District to make a presentation in February to an annual conference of physical education teachers in order to educate them about pickleball and suggest a format by which PE teachers of middle school students can teach and play pickleball in PE classes. This is part of our commitment to introduce our sport to others.
  • SMPA jumped in to help out the Green Lake Community Center when they started their “Introduction to Pickleball” Saturday classes without an instructor. A number of SMPA members filled in to make sure that the group will leave the 5 week class well grounded in pickleball basics.
  • We are exploring new and exciting pickleball events for next year and look forward to sharing these with you in the coming months as planning progresses and the events become more definite. Tournaments? Leagues? Keep tuned.

On behalf or our entire board of directors, I send you our best wishes for happy, healthy and safe holidays. We are looking forward an exciting 2019.

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President