Squeegees, Players, and Nets Ahoy!
Everyone is pleading to go inside to play, although early December brought the Seattle metro area some spectacular sunny and low-wind days for outside play. Until we have Covid under control, the city and state regulations will severely curtail indoor play. Bundle up, and visit Shoreview parks and play on the new semipermanent nets. Squeegee off the overnight rain or morning drizzle with SMPA-provided squeegees at Miller and Shoreline and in West Seattle, and play. The pickleball venue scheduling site, PlaytimeScheduler, rolled out a premium version that lets you, for a small annual fee, get more information about the scheduled games and set other limits to your scheduled play group.
2021 SMPC Planning
While we are all dodging COVID by physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding indoor play and large groups, the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic (SMPC) tournament committee is meeting every other week or so to keep on track. Will the tournament happen? That question will be settled for certain when Shoreline can issue a permit early in 2021. However, the tournament planners are committed to having a tournament of some kind and will work with Shoreline to hold a safe event.
What that means for all of our local players and SMPA members is this: we welcome volunteers now and during the tournament. Referee clinics will resume in 2021, and a springtime raffle will help with early round fundraising to offset tournament operating expenses. Speaking of raising money, do you know you can donate even now through the SMPA website? When you join or renew your SMPA membership, look for a special box to add a donation for the tournament. If you have other ideas or want to volunteer, fire off an email and let us know.
Check your schedule and save the tournament dates, July 22 to July 26, 2021 and if you can, sign up for a volunteer slot on our SignUp Genius page.
Mayor’s Coffee Klatch
Many SMPA Board and general SMPA members were online on October 23, 2020 to hear Seattle Mayor Durkan respond to questions submitted in advance to the Mayor. SMPA member Sarah Webb posed an excellent question, “Pickleball is a wonderful sport for seniors. Despite being the birthplace of pickleball, Seattle has no dedicated pickleball courts and limited places to play compared to other cities. We have regularly communicated with SPR about this to no avail. Can you do something to remedy this situation?” The Mayor’s response to the question was both surprising and disappointing: “This is the first time in three years that I have heard about pickleball.”
Following the Mayor’s event, SMPA sent the Mayor a letter that outlines all of the efforts that have been made by the pickleball community, urging SPR, the City Council, and her office to provide more pickleball venues and play opportunities. The letter is posted on our SMPA website. Not surprisingly, there’s been no response to this or other written questions that were submitted to the Mayor by SMPA members.
Permits for Seattle Courts
SMPA is currently working with Lifelong Recreation Southwest District Coordinator, John Hasslinger, to extend SPR issued permits authorizing pickleball play at several outdoor courts. These permits give pickleball players use priority on the shared tennis courts for specific days and times. The current permits expire December 4th, 2020, so we need to find a way to extend the dates so that outdoor play can continue during the winter months. We will keep you posted as the efforts continue.
Rescheduled PIG Tournaments
In deference to COVID restrictions in the state of Washington, Pickleball Is Great (PIG) rescheduled their early December 2020 tournament. PIG still has on the schedule the Holiday Pickleball Smash tournament at the Eastside Tennis Center in Kirkland on December 31, 2020. Early registration ends on December 23, 2020, so if you’re up for celebrating the end of 2020 with a fun tournament, this is it!
SMPA President’s Winter 2020 Message
What does SMPA do when the days grow short? We’ve spent the past several weeks continuing to advocate for more pickleball venues and working to facilitate outdoor play.
On the proactive side of things, there were some great wins for SMPA.
With the funds raised by the Shoreview pickleball players and other area players, plus matched funds donated through SMPA, we completed the purchase of the semipermanent nets at Shoreview. The nets were delivered to Shoreline Parks department and then a volunteer work party assembled them onsite at Shoreview Park. Players expressed appreciation for SMPA’s work on this project, and likewise, SMPA was happy to participate in this player-driven project.
We purchased, assembled and distributed squeegees for outdoor courts (see photo) at High Point and Delridge in West Seattle, Miller on Capitol Hill, and Shoreline courts to give our pickleball players the ability to remove excess water and play during winter weather. Judging from the feedback, the squeegees are being well utilized and are, figuratively, a smash. We expect to purchase more squeegees for other locations this winter.
While proactive, yet more challenging, SMPA engaged with the city of Seattle and later Shoreline on important pickleball-related concerns.
Several SMPA members attended the Mayor’s online Coffee Klatch (see article). We intend to continue opening channels to the Mayor’s office to make sure that pickleball isn’t just a sport she plays poorly, and is something worthy of Parks and Rec funds for courts both indoors and out.
The Lifelong Recreation Advisory Council (LLRAC) also sent a letter to City council member Lorena Gonzalez and copied the Mayor, the SPR Superintendent, and the SPR Director of Recreation, asking for more pickleball venues. More to the point, LLRAC requested that monies be included in the five-year Restoration of Sports Courts budget for adding more pickleball lines on outdoor tennis courts.
Last month, SMPA Board members, led by Frank Chiappone, presented a PowerPoint proposal to Shoreline City and Parks officials for a public-private joint venture to develop a dedicated pickleball facility at Shoreview Park. Although the presentation was well received, the Shoreline representatives reported back that, presently, insufficient funds existed to act on our proposal. They did encourage us to stay in touch for further discussion when their pandemic-driven circumstances change.
In every dealing with city governments we are reminded that our effectiveness as an organization is dependent upon our membership. We encourage you to renew your membership, so critical to our ability to continue to advocate for pickleball and to provide wide ranging benefits to the pickleball community. SMPA membership is the best $20 investment you can make to the sport we all love. Most annual membership renewals begin early next year, however your early renewal lets you take advantage of also making year-end charitable gift to our pickleball-specific organization. You can make donations any time of year on Member Planet.
I look forward to engaging with all of you in 2021 to address the many challenges in expanding pickleball in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Until then, I wish you all happy, peaceful and healthy holidays.
President, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association