When it comes to pickleball, SMPA director Amy Greger is passionate about two things, playing pickleball and expanding places to play pickleball. Looking for creative solutions, she realized that she could use the Westside Pickleball League to fund this need.
The 3 founders of Westside Pickleball League, Rosina Geary, Nancy Rust, and Amy, started the league in October 2022. They engaged local Chief Sealth High School (CSHS) and received permission for the league to play in the school gym on eight courts with 64 players every Sunday. The first six-week session at CSHS started in November 2022 and has since expanded to 11 courts with 88 players. The league expanded indoor play to the SeaTac Community Center in January 2023.
The Westside Pickleball League provides the local community with much needed indoor play throughout the winter. A portion of the funds raised by the league were donated to Sealth Athletics. So far 411 registered players have helped raise $15,000 for local schools. An additional $14,600 was raised for the West Seattle Fund to purchase portable nets and cover gym rentals for the league. The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association is proud to sponsor a league which has done so much for the local community.
By January 2023, enough funds were raised to pay for new pickleball lines to be painted on tennis courts at the outdoor Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (SWAC) at 2901 SW Thistle Street in West Seattle.
SMPA submitted a request to Seattle Public Schools Self Help Project to add 12 pickleball courts on six existing tennis courts and received approval in March. In mid-May, permanent lines for six pickleball courts were completed. An additional six pickleball courts were marked for taping. This is the first time pickleball lines have been added on Seattle Public Schools tennis courts. SWAC is also the biggest pickleball venue in Seattle with 12 outdoor courts.
Because SWAC courts are part of Seattle Public School properties, there is some restriction on public use. When not used by the CSHS tennis team or other school activities, the SWAC courts are open to the community after school hours and when school is not in session. Players must bring portable nets to SWAC.
To celebrate the historic addition of twelve outdoor pickleball courts at SWAC, the Westside Pickleball League celebrated with an inaugural tournament on June 10th named Astria Rally on the Rock, sponsored by Astria Pickleball. The tournament consisted of 144 players arranged in 72 teams of men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. Over three thousand dollars in prizes were awarded to medalists and players from Astria Pickleball. The tournament included a food drive for the White Center Food Bank. Funds were donated to Sealth Athletics to support the underfunded athletic programs at CSHS.
After a 3-hour rain delay, the sun greeted players on newly cleaned and painted courts. We were determined to celebrate the new courts with a tournament and our relentless volunteers helped make it a reality. The player experience included a check-in with balloons, an Astria paddle kiosk helmed by founder Dmitry Ivanenko and team, concession stand, volunteer tent with refreshments, indoor restrooms, abundant on-site parking and even two windsocks. Players raved about how well this all-volunteer tournament was run.
For Amy Greger, the best thing about the Westside Pickleball League is the local community it brought together. Play has engendered fellowship. New friendships and connections are made each league session.
League players come from West Seattle and the surrounding areas. Some of them graduated from CSHS years ago. Playing pickleball while raising money for local high schools is a welcome benefit of play.
Since October 2022, the league has raised approximately $30,000 for nets, pickleball lines and schools. Players can be proud to participate in a league which has made a significant contribution to their community.