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.
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
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.