Des Moines embraces pickleball fever, remarks all tennis courts
All city-owned tennis courts are now ready for pickleball, a Des Moines spokesperson tells Axios.
Why it matters: Nationally, pickleball participation increased nearly 160% over the last three years, according to a report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
- Locally, it's not uncommon to see more pickleball games than tennis matches at places like Waveland tennis courts.
Catch up fast: The city's parks department began offering pickleball in 2020 because it could be played outside and was more pandemic friendly than other sports.
- So far this year there are 26 adult league teams registered and 36 spring tournament teams.
Driving the news: City crews recently finished remarking all 41 municipal tennis courts so that both games can be played on them.
- A pickleball-only court opens next month at the EMC Pocket Park and construction on four courts at Stone Park begins in 2024.
Meanwhile, summer league registrations began yesterday.
- Fall sign ups begin in July.
The intrigue: There's a national backlash from tennis players who say the sport is noisy and "hijacking" their courts.
- Comedian Stephen Colbert even poked fun at the "great pickleball war" in a recent skit.
Zoom in: DSM resident and tennis player Abe Goetz tells us tensions hinge on fewer available courts, damage when nets are improperly lowered and bad court etiquette.
- Simple gestures like waiting to cross courts in between points go a long way, Goetz says.
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