Invasive species are taking over children’s parks! Pickleball is spreading like wildfire across the US
The racquetball craze sweeping the nation is causing neighborhood drama on the streets of New York as neighbors claim pickleball enthusiasts are taking children’s playgrounds away.
The recently popularized sport, which combines ping-ping, badminton and tennis, has sparked controversy among concerned parents and tennis players alike.
The sport has also amassed a huge celebrity following, including reality kings the Kardashians Leonardo Dicaprio, Stephen Colbert, Bill Gates, and George and Amal Clooney.
Sports legends Tom Brady and Lebron James have gone so far as to invest in Major League Pickleball, which launched last year.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said he’s a long-time fan of the sport, which was invented in 1965 by three Washington state fathers
But in New York’s West Village, concerned citizens have expressed their frustration at the increasingly popular pastime on the neighborhood app Nextdoor.
‘Anyone else sick from pickleball at home?’ wrote a visibly annoyed user.
“The sound is so piercing and unblockable that I get PTSD every time I hear a ball walking around town.”
Another apparently concerned neighborhood observer described the impact the cucumber ballers are having on youth.
“Even the kids who go to school next door (where the posted video is set) have their break, which is taken over by cucumber ballers. The kids have nowhere to play,” the user wrote.
The original post featured a short video of dozens of adult pickleball players occupying almost all of the neighborhood’s playground area, while a group of children huddled in a very small area of the public park with nowhere to play.
Mark Borden, father of two and writer, recently started a change.org petition to get the city’s parks department to throw cucumber ballers out of Seravalli Park in the West Village.
“There seems to be a lack of awareness among pickleball players,” he told the New York Times.
“They are blinded by their passion for the sport,” he said, calling the players the “lanternflies of the sports world – an invasive species that takes over a natural ecosystem and destroys it.”
West Village parents started a petition to remove Pickle Ball from a neighborhood playground that their children currently have significantly less access to due to the rise of the sport
New York City residents are increasingly frustrated with the space occupied by pickle ballers on both tennis courts and local playgrounds
An illustration shows pickleball courts completely overtaking Horatio Park in the West Village
The current conflict exists in large part because there aren’t many established locations for cucumber ballers to practice their sport.
Space is limited, especially in New York, and while there are a handful of public tennis courts, tennis players are unlikely to embrace the idea of sharing.
Among other things, tennis players say the different sized nets and the extra chalk lines that make up the smaller pickleball court are confusing.
During a spring debate in Exeter, New Hampshire, about converting some of the city’s tennis courts into pickleball courts, tennis great Martin Navratilova chimed in the controversy.
“I say if pickleball is that popular they should build their own courts,” she wrote Twitter.
New York pickle-ballers are said to be unaware of how many public resources have been occupied recently – from hitting whiffle balls at all times to preventing children from using playgrounds
The sport was invented in 1965 by three fathers on vacation on Bainbridge Island, Washington, trying to entertain their children.
Bill Gates, who owns a mansion on Lake Washington in Medina, Washington, is a longtime fan of the sport.
The billionaire posted a video of himself explaining the rules to Instagram with the caption: “Fifty years ago I started playing this little-known sport with a funny name. Now it’s all the rage.’
For years the sport made little dent and was played primarily in senior communities and by the elderly.
Even now, there are only about five million players in the US. In contrast, more than 20 million Americans played tennis in 2020 alone, according to the Physical Activity Council.
People play pickleball in a public square in Brooklyn, New York on September 29, 2022
While shared spaces may not be the way to go for esports, further expansion seems likely as more million dollar celebrities and corporate ventures get involved.
A group of Florida real estate developers is dropping $180 million to start 15 private pickleball clubs, according to a New York Times article.
The project includes a 33,000 square foot facility in Sarasota, Florida with a dozen indoor courts and a coffee shop and retail outlet.
In Florida, a group of real estate developers is spending $180 million to build 15 private pickleball clubs, including a 38,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota with 12 indoor courts, a coffee shop and a retail store.
As more and more money jumps into the pickleball game, chances are the market for the accessible sport will turn more bullish.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11343437/Invasive-species-taking-childrens-parks-Pickleball-spreading-like-wildfire.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Invasive species are taking over children’s parks! Pickleball is spreading like wildfire across the US