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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.