Guest editorial: Pickleball players demand equality now |

Guest editorial: Pickleball players demand equality now

The hills around here were used for silver mining, but when mining failed, they were used for skiing.

Gene DeSantis Kamas
Park Record guest editorial

The PC MARC allows tennis players to book an indoor court any hour of any day that the MARC is open. But pickleball players can only reserve a court from 6-8 a.m. on weekdays, 5:30-10 p.m. on Fridays, and 5-9 p.m. on Saturday-Sunday. It’s arbitrary, it’s unfair, and it costs taxpayers money.

MARC Director Ken Fisher and Councilor Max Doilney say it’s necessary because the MARC and the bubble were “purpose built” for tennis. It’s a silly, narrow minded, bureaucratic response. Everything is built for a purpose! The hills around here were used for silver mining, but when mining failed, they were used for skiing. Trails were cut and lifts were built for skiers – and are now used by snowboarders too.

Many drugs were developed for one purpose but are now used for another. Warfarin (Coumadin) was first used in 1948 as rat poison. Now it’s commonly prescribed as a blood thinner. Minoxidil was developed to treat blood pressure, but it’s now used to treat hair loss. Viagra was originally intended to treat angina, but it had a side effect, and it’s now prescribed for erectile dysfunction. Repurposing is a good thing – as councilmembers who meet in what was once a school building should know! The fact that tennis courts in the bubble can and are used for pickleball is wonderful.

This is especially true given that MARC revenue from tennis courts reservations dropped by nearly $30,000 last year, while revenue from reserving pickleball courts jumped by $22,000 – a swing of over $50,000. Yet tennis players are afforded eight times more hours to book courts than pickleball players! This despite the fact that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, and the MARC’s own survey showed the greatest recreational demand by far was for more pickleball courts.

Ken Fisher and Max Doilney say allowing pickleball to be played in the bubble alongside tennis (as is done at Red Ledges in Heber City, at Sunpro Tennis and Pickleball in Springville, and at tennis clubs all over the country) would “degrade the tennis experience.” At the MARC, I’ve seen 24 pickleball players leave the bubble so two tennis players can play singles! Courts are constantly left vacant because the MARC refuses to let pickleball players enjoy their sport alongside tennis players – even though the four (much nicer) courts in the main building are reserved exclusively for tennis.

Instead, the MARC has decreed that pickleball can be played only at certain hours, of certain days, because the bubble was “purpose built” for tennis.

We don’t need politicians acting like a politburo to tell us what sports can be played at what times on which days. It’s not rocket science. Give tennis players exclusive use of the four courts in the main building, and let both sports share the bubble.

Here’s a radical idea: let ‘s try booking the bubble on a free-market, first-come-first-served basis. No government bureaucracy needed. Let everyone enjoy a wonderful municipal facility to play tennis and pickleball!

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