Sci-Fi Pickleball War: Volleys Come and Go

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Maybe the war is hyperbolic. Maybe the skirmish, dusting, or kerfuffle indicates it better.

But underlying serious major issues in the Santa Fe mayoral race, such as homelessness, dismantling the obelisk, and keeping the police stationed, a smaller issue has quietly bounced back into local letters. to the editor, like, well, like a hard plastic pickleball.

For the uninitiated, pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington by three dads whose children were bored. It went from handmade equipment and simple rules “to a popular sport in the United States and Canada.” The game is also growing internationally, with many European and Asian countries adding fields, ”according to the website.

It is a paddle sport, a kind of mix between tennis, table tennis and racquetball, which is played with a plastic ball.

The game requires hand-eye coordination like tennis, but without the aerobic pushes required in tennis – the sport with the highest bouncing ball. It was adopted in Santa Fe by the entire Silver Tsunami and others.

But, as a forehand to tennis in the corner, Sam Hass of Santa Fe, in a recent letter to the editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican, lambasted Mayor Alan Webber for replacing the existing tennis courts at Fort Marcy Park. by pickleball courts. , while the tennis courts at Herb Martinez Park are in dire need of repair.

The city plans to “tear down the existing (tennis) courts and rebuild them” at Herb Martinez Park on the south side, Santa Fe Parks Acting Director Melissa McDonald said.

Webber “takes care of his friends on the east side – pickleball is a very high-end demographic sport, popular with wealthy seniors who can’t run enough to play tennis,” Haas wrote. “I don’t vote for that, and I’m a rich old man with a lot of friends who play pickleball. It just isn’t fair.

Webber campaign spokeswoman Sascha Anderson played down the pickleball letters. “This is a city problem rather than a country one,” she wrote in an email, responding to a request for comment.

Then, like a torn return from a tennis serve, a volley of response came back, also via a letter to the New Mexican.

“Pickleball is by no means a sport for the rich…. I have met teachers, plumbers, chimney sweeps, government officials, police officers, accountants, massage therapists and many others who play regularly when work permits, ”wrote Jane Frederick of Santa Fe.

“Mayor Webber and the council members who approved the conversion of an underused tennis court are to be commended for their responsiveness, not criticized,” Frederick wrote.

Pickleball versus tennis hubbub has apparently been simmering for years.

The Fort Marcy tennis courts “were reassigned to pickelball because there had been conflict for some time” between pickleball folks and tennis fans, McDonald said.

“Pickleball and tennis are quite different games,” said McDonald. “We’ve had complaints between groups for years… some kind of stress has been around for years. “

Over the past six or seven months, officials have formulated ways to resolve the issue and “separate the two sports.”

“The mayor was not the catalyst for the pickleball courts, but he was instrumental in securing funding for the South Side Teen Center,” Campaign spokeswoman Anderson said by e- mail.

Fort Marcy was chosen for pickleball for many reasons and “the pickleball people have embraced it already,” said McDonald. “It made more sense (to have) dedicated pickleball and tennis facilities,” she said.

One in four tennis courts at Salvador Perez Park had been wiped out for pickleball, but those will be removed when the courts are remade, McDonald said.

In Fort Marcy, two tennis courts were redeveloped to become six pickleball courts. A pickleball court is 44 feet long by 20 feet wide, while a tennis court is 78 feet long by 27 feet wide for singles and 36 feet wide for doubles. Fort Marcy is now “a dedicated pickleball facility,” said McDonald.

Full disclosure: The writer took a pickleball class at a community college and enjoyed it, but prefers tennis.

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