President’s Update

September 2022

Hey friends,

With autumn in the air, summer winding down, kids back in school, and football on TV, this felt like a good time to give an update on your Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

First off, it was great to see so many picklers at T-Mobile Park September 10th for Mariners Pickleball Night at the Ballpark. Honestly, I don’t think any of us were surprised at the turnout. We picklers do like to travel in packs! Thank you to Riley and Lindsey Newman for spending some time with us. It was great to see so many folks come up to the rooftop landing to meet with them. They signed so many t-shirts we ran out of Sharpie’s. Speaking of T-shirts, I think the Mariners may have underestimated our turnout as they ran out of shirts well before the game even began. Next year, and yes, next year is already in the works, we’ll make sure we have plenty of t-shirts and Sharpie’s on hand. And if you missed Riley’s first pitch, it was right down the pike and you can see it here. To top it all off, the Mariners beat the Braves and continue to doggedly chase down a playoff spot for the first time in 2 decades. Let’s go M’s!

We also used the excitement at the ballpark to launch our latest campaign, creating a commemorative pickleball license plate. This plate will celebrate the naming of pickleball as the official state sport of Washington. But it’s a lot more than that. Proceeds raised from selling the plates will be put into a trust and used to build dedicated pickleball courts. To make this happen we need to let the legislature know the pickleball community would support the plates. Signing our petition lets the legislature know you’d be willing to buy a plate. We need 3,500 signatures before it will even be considered, so help spread the word. By the way, we have yet to design the plate, if you have some graphic design skills and would like to help, contact us!

Did you notice how much media coverage pickleball in our state generated this summer? Both local and national news organizations were practically tripping over themselves to get stories out there. KOMO-TV, King 5 TV, Fox-13, CBS This Morning, ESPN, The New York Times, National Geographic, InPickleball, Seattle Magazine, The Seattle Times all visited pickleball courts in the Metro area this summer.

All this attention is not by accident. We knew that becoming the state sport would have ripple effects, and it has. But this is only the beginning.  Mariners night came about because of all the attention given the state sport efforts. The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association, the folks who organize school sports, is now looking at pickleball as an official school sport. If the WIAA approves pickleball it would lead to more courts on school property, more kids being taught the sport, and more competitive play for juniors. That’s one of our big goals, getting more kids involved. SMPA will keep you updated on this effort as we continue to chase it down. In addition to all that, there are some private efforts underway to catch the pickleball wave, and Seattle Parks recently reviewed its plan to add pickleball lines to tennis courts while naming two locations as possible sites for dedicated courts.

No one is kidding themselves here, we still have a lot of work to do. Outdoor courts are still way too overcrowded, as days start to get shorter precious few courts have lights, and with the rainy season not far off there are simply not enough covered or indoor courts beyond private clubs. None of these things will be fixed quickly, but they won’t get fixed at all if we don’t keep our foot on the gas pedal and continue to ride the momentum of this great summer.

How can you help? Easy. Become an SMPA member. Join Us. If you are already an SMPA member, thank you. Now go find someone else to join. If you are not yet a member, what are you waiting for? Your $20 a year supports our efforts for more courts and more play. This is a great time to join SMPA and push the momentum forward. Let’s ride the wave together. Paddles up!

Frank Chiappone
Seattle Metro Pickleball Association