Pickleballers’ Plea: More Courts!

To the next person who tells me I should play pickleball: Join the list.

There are already 10,577 ahead of you.

My sister, a doctor friend, half the people in the YMCA locker room — all are pickleball enthusiasts.

Actually, they’re evangelists.

They tout the enjoyment of the game. The ease of learning. The health benefits. The camaraderie.

I wouldn’t call it a cult. Then again, I wouldn’t not call it one.

Pickleballers at Compo Beach.

I’ll play pickleball at some point, I’m sure. In the meantime, here’s a report on the state of pickleball in Westport.

In a few words: It’s good. But it could be better.

Everyone (except me) plays. Which means there are not enough places to play.

In fact, besides the 2 pickleball-only courts at Compo Beach, and 4 others that share tennis lines at Doubleday (behind Saugatuck Elementary School), there are no other public spots in town.

The Westport Pickleball Association aims to change that.

The 6-week-old group is well organized. They have a board. They have members. And they have a mission: raise awareness of the sport; facilitate its growth, and get more courts.

Compo Beach pickleball.

The pickleball push comes as the Parks & Recreation Department is undergoing a study of Longshore’s facilities and future. There are spaces available — like a parking area near the E.R. Strait Marina — and the WPBA wants to make sure every option is considered. They’re working with Parks & Rec’s Racquets Advisory Committee on that effort.

WPBA member Robbi Feinberg knows there are many considerations for new courts, whether at Longshore or elsewhere; topography and terrain, proximity to neighbors, accessibility.

But, she says, those courts are crucial.

Then she invited me to play.

(To learn more about the Westport Pickleball Association, email wpba2022@gmail.com.)

Tom Lowrie is 93 years old, and the face of Westport pickleball. In 2018 he posed for the Westport Library’s “I geek…” campaign  (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

20 responses to “Pickleballers’ Plea: More Courts!

  1. The Westport Woodhill Picklers support such an effort!

  2. Thomas Giametta

    As long as courts are built a responsible distance from homes (research says over 500 feet is suitable distance to prevent nuisance from noise) than build away, otherwise existing residents should not have to be the ones that compromise their quality of life for what could be a fleeting interest in pickle ball.

  3. You’re not the ONLY one not playing …just sayin’ 😉

  4. Arthur C Schoeller

    Hey Dan – just to help your FOMO angst over not playing. I don’t either!

  5. Fasting growing Sport in America! All who have played, go back for more! Can’t wait to try it this year! Yes, the town is on it to make more courts happen!

  6. Support this 100%! We need more courts!

  7. Hi Dan. Evangelist #10,578 here… Really! Try it!!

  8. Dirt lot at Longshore Marina…perfect location! Underutilized!

  9. Heather WIlliams

    Osprey nest in that lot March through September. I don’t think building a pickle ball court there is appropriate. Building more courts at Staples for example abutting other courts or other town owned property has less impact on habitat for these protected birds.

    • Brandon E Osterhout

      By no means is there an intent to disturb wildlife more than humans already do just don’t know if the decaying Town vehicles parked in a lot is much better.

  10. “Crucial”?

  11. How about using the skate park at Compo? I’m sure that was a “must have” back in its day but I walk by it twice a day and see 2-3 using that facility MAYBE 2-3 times a week out of 14 walk by’s. OR use it as a cautionary tale for how the newest “must have” facilities can be faddish in the moment, and ultimately serve a very small portion of our population. So much $ for so few priorities. Maybe use our American Rescue Plan $ that was intended/advertised to aid small business owners & schools!!!

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      I think encouraging a study like is being done, rather than making anecdotal observations, is a good way to proceed.
      Specifically, around the skate park, the user base is generally younger kids in school during most of the year. There are camps that utilize the space, and in the summer, it’s quite well occupied during quite a bit of the time. I don’t have any users in my family, but I know repurposing that space might have more of an impact than your personal experience would indicate.

      • I leave nearby and walk by multiple times a day FOR YEARS. I’m not taking headcount but it’s not an often used space, even during the summertime where it does get used more – but still not by many for very long. As an investment, it’s probably been a poor use of funds. Why the sudden cry for more pickleball courts should be viewed with rigor and not an anecdotal rationalization as you suggest here regarding the skate park.

        • Not every kid in Westport plays the sports which are well facilitized in Westport: soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, softball, etc. Giving some of them who enjoy skateboarding a place is an easy decision and a small investment when compared to what we spend for those other sports. Not everything can be calculated with a precise, dollar based ROI.

  12. Marion V Kelly

    I live across the street from Compo Beach Park and I see many kids using the skateboard frequently. Of course not during school hours or in the winter. Kids of all ages use the skateboard park with scooters as well as skateboards. There’s a well attended skateboard camp during the summer, quite alive with music and kids.
    Pickleball has been around for over 20 years. Clearly not a recent fad. It’s the #1 fastest growing sport in America. We don’t have enough pickleball courts and certainly taking away the skateboard park for those kids who put their phones away and are out engaging in healthy friendships and physical activity, is not a solution.

  13. Peter Mihalick

    Don’t you dare take away any tennis courts for pickle ball the old man’s game. Their entitled but not at the expense of tennis players

  14. We need many more courts to accommodate all the players. Fyi Peter, It’s not only an old man’s game, I play often with my 18, 21 & 24 year old children.

Leave a Reply