Pickleball Craze!

Pickleball Craze!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

What is causing the biggest problem in America? Politics, like the circus going on in our hallowed halls of Congress? Nope. Climate change? Not even close. Inflation? Small worry. Evidently it is pickleball, that according to some esteemed publications, is “ruining America.”

Yes, that’s right. It has been reported that the beloved and fast-growing sport is wreaking havoc with communities across this great land. Neighbors are fighting, and old folks are acting like rowdy college kids taking over tennis courts and playgrounds. Plus, the noisy thwack of a wiffle-like ball on a paddle is causing noise complaints and lawsuits. These are but a few of the “pickleball conflicts.”

Hey, the game is fun! Not too hard to play. Easier than tennis. Doesn’t cost much. And has grown exponentially in the past few years so that nine million Americans are hooked. The over-sixty set is crazy about pickleball and the good news is that most folks, at any age, can grab a racquet and swing away. So why is such a friendly, enjoyable sport causing such conflict? Read on.

Noise. A sound and acoustic analyst in Scottsdale claims that the noise generated from the ball hitting the paddle is a high-impact and intrusive sound, not easily mitigated. When pickleball courts are set up close to homes, it is causing homeowners to file complaints with their homeowners’ associations and municipalities. Bring on the lawyers.

Tennis anyone? The tennis courts are being “commandeered” by the “picklers” since the sport of pickleball is so popular. It is causing communities to be thrust into heated battles about converting tennis courts to accommodate the rapidly growing sport of pickleball. As one judge in Los Angeles County said, “We might have to create a special pickleball court with all the cases coming forward.” I am sure no pun was intended.

A maintenance crew in Colorado had scheduled resurfacing of the tennis courts and closed them. But the devoted picklers refused to leave and kept playing, until the police arrived. Police have been called in numerous communities, to break up screaming matches, racket smacks, fights between tennis players and picklers, and one city will fine people $1000 as a misdemeanor if they “take over a tennis court.” Yikes, this is getting serious.

However, I fail to believe that pickleball is a menace to society. Maybe we just have a few things to figure out, to reduce the conflicts and enhance the play. It is great that so many folks have found a passion for this sport. What could go wrong? Okay, maybe pickleball is not ruining America, but it is sure ruining some shoulders, elbows, knees and hips.

According to the American Medical Association, by the end of 2023 pickleball is expected to yield 67,000 emergency room visits, 366,000 outpatient visits, 8,800 outpatient surgeries, 4.700 hospitalizations and 20,000 acute injuries. And a whopping $377 Million in healthcare costs this year so far! There are signs going up outside of pickleball courts that say, “Play at your own risk.” Oh, Dear Picklers, please be safe!

And for those who don’t like pickleball? Just dill with it. It is not going away.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.

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