May 2018 Newsleter



President’s Perspective
Pickleball in the Park
Court News
New T-Shirts
Member Spotlight
New Board Members
Please Forward


President’s Perspective

Hello Metro pickleballers,

I want to share what the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association has been doing to promote the sport we love since last month’s newsletter.

In April, we added two new directors to our board, Sean Oldridge and Frank Chiappone. Both of these SMPA members are passionate about pickleball and have already made important contributions to our organization.

We are pleased to announce that on May 9, 2018 we received an official Internal Revenue Service notification that SMPA is classified as a public charity exempt from federal income tax. For our members this means that any donations, including annual dues, can be deducted on their federal tax returns. The effective date is retroactive to September 19, 2017, the date of SMPA’s incorporation.

We have organized weekly open play at Green Lake on Thursdays from 5:30 PM to sunset and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM to noon. This is a wonderful outdoor venue at which the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department has (with support from SMPA) lined for pickleball as part of a pilot program to gage the need for more courts. So please come play. No reservations are necessary. Just show up. Optional $2 donations are accepted to help defray permit costs.

From my personal experience I can say that this is a very fun experience and an excellent opportunity to meet new players. Directors Frank and Sean set up the courts each week and welcome all comers. SMPA is also working on establishing other open play venues. Stay tuned.

This month we are excited to sponsor two free play and learn events at different venues. The first of which was held Saturday, May 12th, at Green Lake where more than 100 pickleball players from the metro area gathered for four hours of fun on a beautiful sunny day by the lake. We had two free clinics, open play, and lots of discussion about how we can work together to get more courts and more play for pickleball in the Seattle area.

If you missed it, we’re hosting another Pickleball in the Park event on May 26th, this time at the Miller Playfield pickleball courts in the heart of Capitol Hill. You can read more about both events below.

Our membership is growing but we need your support, so if you haven’t yet done so, please join us! We have revised the application form on our website so that it is more user friendly. I look forward to seeing you all on the courts.



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Pickleball in the Park

SMPA is hosting another Pickleball in the Park event, this time at the Miller Playfield pickleball courts on Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 10 AM – 2 PM.

Grab your paddle, come play some pickleball, and learn about the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association!

There’ll be free pickleball clinics from IPTPA Certified Pickleball coach Tom Grubb with open play on the four Miller Playfield pickleball courts at 330 19th Avenue East, Seattle.

Learn more about SMPA, how you can become a member, and add your voice to the growing number of players working to promote the sport of pickleball and expand available facilities and playing times in the Seattle metro area.


  • Free intermediate player clinic at 10 AM
  • Free advanced beginner player clinic at 11 AM
  • Free drop in play (all levels) from 10 AM to 2 PM

These are outdoor courts, so check our Seattle Metro Pickleball Association Facebook page the day of the event for any weather-related changes.

Recap: Pickleball at the Park – Green Lake

Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday, May 12th to support our SMPA event at Green Lake.

Thanks as well to Tom Grubb who donated his time and energy to put on two fabulous clinics. He also hung around after to offer individual tips, and he was seen on the court getting a game or two. Well done Tom!

A score of volunteers made sure everything ran smoothly, and it would be a big miss if they didn’t get a shout out and huge thanks for their help and good cheer throughout the day.

Hopefully, those of you who were there learned something new, made some new friends, and played some exciting games.

There was some wait in between games, and we had to play shortened games, but that’s exactly the reason why we need to keep raising our voices (and our paddles) to let the city know we need more courts and more play.

Finally, welcome, to those of you who signed up as new SMPA members. We’re excited to have you as part of our growing community and join us as an agent of change for pickleball throughout the Seattle Metro area.

Check out the entire gallery of photos from this fun event here on the SMPA website.

For those who have not yet joined, if you believe that there should be more opportunities to play pickleball in the Seattle Metro area, then hit this button, have your credit card handy, and with a few simple steps, join.

Choose from either a 1-year $20 membership, or a lifetime $500 membership. Your dues will support SMPA initiatives and entitles you to SMPA member benefits. And it’s tax deductible!

By the way, we heard your feedback and have streamlined the sign-up process.

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Court News

Action Alert: Public input needed regarding dedicated outdoor pickleball courts in Bellevue

The city of Bellevue is considering converting the single Sunset Park tennis court into two or three dedicated pickleball courts. (Unfortunately, this tennis court is too small to comfortably fit four pickleball courts.) The city is seeking public comments by June 6 at which point we expect them to tally the votes “for” and “against” this project. We need pickleball enthusiasts to stand up and be counted. Please send an email to Lynde Wallick today to voice your support for this project.

Read more about this project and how you can help get more pickleball courts for Eastside play by visiting our Action Alert page.

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New T-Shirts Available

Many of you asked for an SMPA t-shirt in both men’s and women’s style, using a quick-dry material that would be better suited for summer play. Well, good news, the new t-shirts are here: new color (black), new material, and all new style for both men and women, same great SMPA logo!

The new shirts sell for $25. Look for us at events, community centers and courts across the metro area to purchase your new SMPA t-shirt.

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Member Spotlight: Meet the Donovans

Congratulations to SMPA members Roberta and John Donovan, Gold Medal winners in the 3.0 70+ mixed division at the 2017 USAPA National Championships. When home in Seattle for the summers, Roberta and John play at Jefferson Park, South Park and Pickleball Station in Kent and occasionally at Delridge and Hiawatha in West Seattle.

The Donovans got hooked on pickleball 5 years ago and started playing in tournaments just last year when John was asked to fill in for a sick partner. In addition to winning at Nationals, they claimed gold at the Grand Canyon State Games as well.

In their own words:
“We love the workout we get in pickleball both physically and mentally. We have found the mental game is much bigger than we originally thought during the first few years. There is a wealth of information on the internet regarding playing and thinking. One of our favorites is Sarah Ansboury, she offers great insight into the game.”

Paddle of choice: Selkirk. Roberta uses the Selkirk Omni Graphite (Chris Peterson signature design) 7.1 oz. John uses the Selkirk Omni Amped Fiberflex at 7.5 oz.

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New Members of the SMPA Board

Frank Chiappone
Frank Chiappone, Secretary

Frank is a former sports anchor/reporter at KOMO-TV in Seattle where he once won an Emmy for synchronized swimming although he didn’t actually synch or swim. Now at Microsoft, he helps teachers and students do great things using technology in their classrooms.

At home, He has a wife, Bert, and three college kids, Frankie, Alle and Ella, who encourage his pickleball obsession and will occasionally play with him.

Life before pickleball is a little hazy, but he vaguely remembers enjoying sports of all kind, cooking, DIY house projects and playing the ukulele.

He plays pickleball at least three times a week wherever he can, mostly in North Seattle, but has also played in Florida, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii, but not on the same day.

Sean Oldridge
Sean Oldridge,

Sean has worked at Microsoft for the past 26 years as a Software Engineer, most recently on the Office team.

He and his wife, Erin, have been married for 20 years and have a daughter in high school, and a son in college.

After playing soccer for over 25 years, his body was aching for a new sport. Sean was introduced to Pickleball almost a year ago, and has become infatuated with playing and promoting the sport since.

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Please Forward

Please share this newsletter with your pickleball friends.

If someone forwarded the newsletter link to you and you would like to be notified directly next time, ask us to put you on our contact list with an email to or, better yet, join SMPA.