Fall 2018 Newsletter

SMPA turns One

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association (SMPA) continues to work to grow pickleball in the wider Seattle metro area. We meet monthly with the City of Seattle to address the issue of outdoor court venues and access, and work where we’re needed to help surrounding areas as they, too, work with their local parks departments to develop access to more courts.

Meet our Board and check out the Action Alert page for ways to get involved and speak up when we need to show force and numbers of players. And consider joining! For a mere $20 a year, your annual membership will help us in our quest to drive pickleball as a sport to be reckoned with when we deal with local Parks folks.

Semi-Permanent Pickleball Nets

October 2018

Delivered just in time for the rainy season, SMPA applied for a grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhood’s Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) to the tune of $5,000. With this money we ordered three sturdy, high quality Douglas pickleball nets and distributed them between Green Lake Pickleball Courts (2) and Miller Playfield outdoor courts. Yes, we know dedicated courts would be even better, however we also know that where there are nets up already during the playing hours, pickleball players will come and they will play. Check out this photo from the first games on Green Lake courts. Have paddle, will play. Are you with us? The last Saturday in October had 55 people at Green Lake vying for 6 courts.

Summer in the City: Teens, Leagues, Tournaments, and Pickleball in the Park

SMPA had a busy summer, offering the first of league play, a couple of tournaments, more Pickleball in the Park events, and a pickleball shootout on the 4th of July.

Pickleball in the Park

Following on a very successful Pickleball in the Park event at Green Lake pickleball courts in May 2018, SMPA held additional events at Miller Playfield and Delridge Courts (West Seattle). Pickleball players old and new turned out for the instructional clinic, skills contests, and open play. The SRO event helped grow the membership, introduce the game to some new players, and let some of the current players hone their skills. Overall a success, the Pickleball in the Park events showed that the work SMPA did with the city to get courts painted is paying dividends by giving us venues to showcase the sport.

League

Sixteen avid pickleball players turned up at Soundview courts in the Olympic Hills area of Seattle to play a weekly league in July. This first league event let the SMPA Play committee assess interest and work out the details of renting and using the city-painted pickleball courts in the shared-with-tennis world. Great play, improved skills, new friendships, and a determination to expand the offering resulted, so stay tuned to our SMPA website (and FaceBook) for more. Erin O’Rourke and Jeff Dye captured Gold, Stephanie Leeper and Frank Chiappone took silver and the Bronze went to Justine Park and Aaron Gooze. Thanks to all the participants for a fun summer event. And many thanks to Frank Chiappone for his hard work on organizing and managing the nascent league play.

Seattle Metro Classic Pickleball Tournament

This classic in the making was SMPA’s first step in providing tournament play in Seattle. Held at Discovery Park, the tournaments, with 3.5 and 4.0 skill level events, faced challenges from weather and last-minute signups to fill the brackets, but was a great success for all involved. Want more? Consider joining the Play or Events committees and help us do more of these. Oh, and you want to know the winners, too:

  • 3.5 Tournament:
    • Mixed Doubles: Gold: Justine Park and John Lui; Silver: Heather Carter and Mike Givens; Bronze: Ying Zhao and Frank Chiappone.
    • Women’s Doubles: Gold: Heather Carter and Cynthia Concannon; Silver: Ying Zhao and Erin O’Rourke;Bronze: Margo Huang and Patty Vanderhoeven
    • Men’s Doubles: Gold: Scott Smith and Jason Pauley; Silver: Mike Givens and Paul Matthewson; Bronze: John Lui and David Park
  • 4.0 Tournament:
    • Mixed Doubles: Gold: Karen Arango and Oscar Montes; Silver: Christie Gestvang and Seth Caswell; Bronze: Heather Carter and Walter Wiedeman
    • Men’s Doubles: Gold: Jason Pauley and Ryan Shipman; Silver: Paul Matthewson and Maurice Parobec; Bronze: Jeff Dye and Frank Chiappone

July 4th Pickleball Shootout at Green Lake

What a great way to work out before the holiday picnics, with a full morning of competitive pickleball play. A happy dozen or so players showed up at Green Lake Pickleball courts to play a shootout format. The winners and losers agree: a fun morning and a good template for future holidays. Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, Labor Day…you name it, and the Play committee will consider.

Teen Night at South Park

Led by SMPA member Dan McGee, with the able assistance from SMPA Board members Jerry, Frank, Sean, and Tom, we took over the Friday night teen play at South Park Community Center to introduce the game of pickleball. So maybe we had more fun than the kids, however we hope we showed them another way to make use of their gym time, and maybe there will be a future player or two who emerges from this group.

Pickleball in the National News Headlines

Pickleball is growing and growing and growing

The Outdoor Industry Association latest data (https://outdoorindustry.org/resource/2018-outdoor-participation-report/) shows that pickleball is growing at a rate of 10% or more per year, while tennis is flat or declining. If that trend continues, there will be about half as many pickleball players as tennis players in 10 years from now. We know it’s high time to start planning for pickleball complexes in the Seattle Metro Area! And we want your input, so please make any additions to our own growing list by sending a note to info@seattlemetropickleball.com and we’ll add to our list. Don’t worry, we’ll share that information as we develop our criteria, so check back in the next newsletter or check the Seattle Metro Pickleball site.

Can pickleball help you live longer?

We know it, and we work hard at our games, and now Loma Linda has picked up on the trend and offers their proof of pickleball as a way of living, and staying healthy, for longer. View their report:

We see it as another good argument for Seattle Metro area pickleball complexes!

Out of Utah: Dedicated pickleball courts reduces crime

Utah enjoys St. George as a pickleball Mecca. Their neighbor to the north, Orem, Utah is reporting crime reduction as well. https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/orem/orem-pickleball-courts-reducing-crime/article_6deb4621-914b-558e-91d1-dc3d2deff735.html
Time for pickleball complexes around the Seattle metro area, don’t you think!

Around the Metro area

We adopted the name of Seattle METRO Pickleball Association for a reason, and that means we want to promote and assist in the growth of pickleball all around the area.

New pickleball courts in Shoreline

Shoreview Park has new play surfaces and with that, pickleball courts got painted. What’s next? You can haul nets there to play with a lovely water view. And, not to tip our hands, but there may be a major summer tournament brewing for that location. Stay tuned! And thank you to founding and former Board member Patrick Johnson for his work on developing this opportunity.

New pickleball complex in Sequim

Sequim’s pickleball community raised $216,000 to supplement city funding and took a couple of years to complete their beautiful pickleball complex. Their first tournament was hit by a rainy day, but they played anyway, as desperate pickleballers will do. Think it’s time for pickleball complexes in the Seattle Metro Area? We do!

And in other news…

URGENT – 4th Annual Pickleball Halloween Pickleball Play Day at Mercer Island

Mercer Island pickleball players aren’t always serious when it comes to court time. They can party, too! Mercer Island Community Center invites pickleball players to come to their Pickleball Play on Wednesday, October 31. They’ve scheduled:

  • Parade of costumes at 11:15 AM
  • Costume awards ceremony at 11:30 AM (Best costume, Best in play, Best pickle (people’s choice)
  • Open play as usual follows

Help the Friends of Eckstein Middle School Pickleball

If you’re on our mailing list or follow our our Facebook page or view Time for Pickleball, you’ve seen the requests from the folks who are trying to get some old tennis courts repurposed as pickleball courts. These planned pickleball courts will be off limits during the school operating hours, although available after school and on weekends, and likely all summer, and allow the school to develop a pickleball component in their program. Please take their survey here.

Seattle Pickleball Pilot Survey

Survey closed October 31, 2018

Thank you to the 246 of you who answered the Seattle Parks Department’s Pickleball Pilot Program Survey. Given that they aren’t otherwise collecting usage numbers at the venues where regular play is happening, the high number of respondents helped let them know just how many of us are urging them to move faster to get us more courts and more court time. Thank you to all who responded to our FaceBook link and emailed requests! Numbers count.

More Seattle City Planning on the Horizon

The city of Seattle Parks department is starting a new planning process. There should be an opportunity for public comments on the plan in the Spring. We’ll keep you posted. If you hear of other planning activities going on in or around Seattle, let us know.

Thanks and goodbye to Board members Stan and Jimi and welcome Tom!

Launching SMPA required pickleball players with vision, energy, and drive to meet and do the ground work to become the nonprofit metro association we are building. Stan Jonasson was one of the first local players to answer the call, and he brought business acumen and energy to launch the first membership drives. He leaves us with his move to Port Townsend, but never fear, he’s upping the level of play for everyone there. Thank you, Stan, for your early efforts to build SMPA.

Another person critical to our initial work and success is departing Board member Jimi Vernie, who’s leaving the board but not West Seattle pickleball so that she can handle a family issue. As the governmental liaison, Jimi was essential in building the great relationships we continue to enjoy with the City of Seattle. Look for her at Delridge when you play in West Seattle, and help us express our deep gratitude to Jimi for her efforts to grow pickleball.

If you attended a Pickleball in the park event, you got some great instruction from our newest Board member, Tom Grubb. He regularly teaches in Burien and plays all over Seattle and will be a key part of our efforts to develop more pickleball venues, particularly as we work to develop dedicated pickleball facilities in the metro area. Welcome, Tom, you’re a great addition to our Board of Directors.

Message from the President

The SMPA Board honored our first year as a nonprofit by adopting some specific strategic goals for the organization. Our mission of growing the sport of pickleball and increasing accessibility of venues, has not changed. To this end, we have committed to concentrate on the following areas for the next year, and invite everyone to help us in these efforts.

  • Dedicated pickleball courts — Ultimately, we seek dedicated outdoor PB courts as well as an indoor facility. We recognize that this goal may not be achieved in 2018, but we unanimously agreed to begin working toward this achievement now and to make future decisions with this goal in mind.
  • More pickleball play opportunities for all persons — We committed to explore ways to involve more play for existing PB players as well as to seek to introduce this sport to others. This is a multi-faceted undertaking. We intend to collect data from SPR and other sources in order to determine how and when and where most play is occurring and to identify areas of need to improve availability of courts throughout the Seattle metropolitan area at times useful to persons of all demographic backgrounds. We have discussed holding more open play and clinics in order to expand our PB reach to others who may not have (or know about) this opportunity.
  • Increase involvement and participation in SMPA — We have added additional committees in order to better serve our mission and invited SMPA members to serve on these committees. We also plan to expand our existing board and improve geographic and demographic representation. We intend to continue working on increasing our membership to ensure that SMPA speaks with the strongest voice possible in promoting our mission.

None of this is possible without the engagement and support of the Seattle metro area pickleball community. As you’ve read the newsletter, perhaps you have seen some area that calls out to you to be involved. We have a number of committees that do the work to promote pickleball and engage with the city departments regarding pickleball issues. Please let us know about any areas of interest to you. Email volunteersseattlemetropickleball.com. Any assistance is welcome and appreciated.

Paddles up, and we’ll see you on the pickleball courts!

Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

Jerry Kindinger, President