The great pickleball kerfuffle of 2012

This is what trouble — big trouble — looks like in Woodbury.

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It’s a pickleball court in the city’s Shawnee Park. It also happens to be the largest pickleball site in the Midwest. It’s a game that can “mark the diff’rence between a gentlemen and a bum, with a capital ‘B,’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for…” well, you know.

Pickleball, from what we can tell, is the shuffleboard of the generation. People who once might’ve played tennis, people who are not as young as they were when they did, have picked up pickleball.

It’s spreading like an invasive species…

In Woodbury, the pickleball controversy spilled into public view this week when neighbors complained the old-timers are making a racket, according to the Woodbury Bulletin.

And there’s some truth to that. The ball and paddles sound like this awful “hit” from the ’70s that just won’t stop…

The city, which has spent $4,000 on pickleball, has rejected the neighbors’ complaints, but told players to start using some tennis courts in other parks in the city. It’s not like anyone’s using them for tennis these days, anyway. Maybe that’ll keep the whippersnappers satisfied.

The Woodbury paper took a stand on the issue in an editorial this week:


The city has been deft in not turning pickleballers away at the Woodbury border. under no circumstances should players — many of whom are 65 and up — be discouraged from forming an activity that fosters health and positive social interaction.

Frankly, we should be happy our local courts give seniors that opportunity. It would be a disappointment if our community turned it back on them.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob – “…the old-timers are making a racket”

    Intentional? If so, nice.

    If not, take your punster muse out for a drink after work :- )

  • joetron2030

    Ah. So, that’s what pickleball is.

  • krj

    As someone who does actually play tennis on courts where pickleball is played, I do understand that it can be a bit noisy.

    But if people are living by the parks and are upset about the noise, then I offer that they may have chosen poorly about a place to live. I live near a High School and a park and within earshot of the competition field. The noises “screaming” kids, PA announcers and events happening are a welcome sound that indicates the vitality of the community.

    If you want to live where you can see the stars, move out of the city. Don’t complain about the streetlights.

  • Bob Collins

    I didn’t note this in the piece but MOST of Woodbury’s neighborhood parks have been abandoned by game-players. There are still bikers and walkers, but the gigantic (and about to get more gigantic) Bielenberg sports area undermined the vitality of a lot of the parks (I live near the Pioneer Park where a lot of these pickleball players have been urged to move to).

    I really miss the sound of kids playing at the parks.

  • Kevin Watterson

    Wow. We played pickle ball in gym class in high school, it’s like mini-tennis. Had tournaments and everything, some kids were really good. I didn’t know it was a thing.

  • BJ

    I just saw a sign for instructions on how to play at the Crystal Park and Rec center last night and wanted to know what it was. So cool.

  • Mark Friedenberg

    This is truly amazing! The wonderful comments that you all have to this great sport. It truly saves lives, creates wonderful social interaction and spreading like wildfire! I held a pickleball clinic in Woodbury this summer – Great people! I love this game!

    And to think that Sun City Grand (12 courts just refinished) in Surprise, AZ has told their pickleball players that they are outlawing any paddle over 60 decibels – which is most paddles! What a shame! I guess, “the squeaky wheel does get the grease.”

    I guess that some people just don’t get it!

    Mark “Yoda” Friedenberg