Has the culture of pickleball changed with the rapid rise in popularity?
It’s easy to complain about the venue you play everyday.
and so on, and so on…
When was the last time you stopped to consider the person – the individual – who took time out of their day (many days, probably) to FIND the venues you play, to TALK to the people in charge of the location and to make the case for pickleball’s place in their schedule?
How often are YOU the first one at the court setting up nets and/or the last one there taking them down?
As the friendly folks we are, most pickleball players DO get involved in the taking down and putting up of nets once in a while and many of us have been involved in the taping or painting of courts at some point as well. Pickleball is community-building, and the vast majority of us step up to the plate (or is it the kitchen line?) to support the development of our courts and our infrastructure.
And, when we do, we go a long way in defining the culture of the sport. Think about the culture of pickleball compared to the somewhat pretentious cultures of tennis or golf (You know I love you anyhow, you tennis players and golfers!) versus the more inclusive cultures of soccer, basketball or frisbee, or the spectator sports of football or hockey.
The game is at a tipping point and we all have a significant role in determining the fabric of the pickleball culture for decades to come.
This month, I want to draw special attention to the relatively small number of people at each location who put in the bulk of the work to get a pickleball group going; those who have propelled the game to the point it’s at right now.
Most of the time, these dedicated people are official USAPA Ambassadors, but occasionally they are not. In either case, sometimes they’re just passionate individuals who put in the time just so they have more people to play with and better opponents to play against. I’ve seen people who are unable to play anymore out rustling up new courts and venues for others to enjoy.
The ambassadors of the game work behind the scenes to:
- Purchase and provide nets
- Buy balls
- Put nets up and down
- Put barriers between courts up & down
- Lock and unlock facilities
- Welcome new players
- Teach etiquette
- Collect/Manage money
- Maintain courts
My Challenge to You
This month’s “tip” is not about getting out on the court to do drills or picking up a copy of my Amazon best-selling book (though, you can click here to do that too, if you want). This month – in our season of giving – I challenge you to reflect on what you do to support your local ambassadors and/or the pickleball culture and community in your area. I want to hear about what you do: the activities you plan, the groups you organize, the locations you set-up…anything that grows not just the sport, but the pickleball culture.
In January, I’ll hopefully be able to share your activities with the rest of our own community. Maybe we can learn from each other and create stronger pickleball communities.