West Vancouver pickleballers are giving council a paddling after a vote to close the only dedicated outdoor courts in the municipality without a promised replacement, says the North Shore News recently. Richard Thorpe, Sandy Tambosso, and Reg Allen stand at the soon-to-be-closed 29th Street pickleball courts in West Vancouver.
“We've spent way too much time and staff time and energy and money on this pickleball issue...I just don't think we can afford to keep playing Whack a Mole with pickleball, to mix sporting metaphors,” said Council member Craig Cameron.
Really?? Whack a Mole is a sport? Too much time spent investigating, too noisy, no budget, no place far enough away from residents? Ever been outside Rogers Arena during a rock concert which is in the middle of one of the most populous areas of Vancouver? Ever listened to CN freight trains as they roll through the North Shore from East to West through housing district after housing district - at night? Should we stop them because of the extreme noise they create (warning horns, steel wheels and corners) while we investigate tunnelling across the North Shore?
West Van [Pickleball] Players spokesman Ed Pielak said his group’s members were appalled by the district reneging on their assurances that the 29th Street courts wouldn’t be converted back to tennis until a suitable temporary replacement had been set up.“We're absolutely in shock. We are not going down without a fight. What we want to do is get temporary courts,” he said.
Going back to the 30,000 ft view, seems to me that the overall benefits of Pickleball far outweigh the issues of noise that have now been politicized. One of my recent blogs highlighted some of these advantages so I won't repeat them again here. And yes, technolgy will solve this issue given time and continuing interest in this sport, as quieter rackets have already been introduced, albeit given that they are somewhat more expensive for now.
Not all fun and rewarding outdoor activities come in silence (children's birthday parties, doggy parks and attendant ball throwing, tennis and basketball, boating, car rallies, Ski/Sea-Dooing, school recess & playgrounds...). So I would suggest, let's take a deep breath and embrace change rather than fight the inevitable. Pickleball is here to stay so don't get yourself into a pickle about that - relax and join the crowd especially as summer is coming! You may be surprised how much the "noise" dissipates the more you play.