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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