The 12 tennis courts at Robb Field in San Diego have become some of the most fought-over real estate in the area. Pickleballers have been trying to set up shop on the courts that have been intensely guarded by the Pennisula Tennis Club.
Last Thursday a group from Pickleball SD broke out the temporary nets on the open courts. A PTC manager confronted the players: a fee is required and the courts are tennis only. Police were summoned to remove the pickleball group and the dispute was recorded.
The pickleballers had done their homework before hitting the courts.
- The PTC's permit from the city to use the courts was expired
- The land (courts) is public property and is first come first serve
- Pickleball SD acquired a special use permit to use the courts
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Police determined that the pickleball group was allowed to stay and play on the courts because of the lack of permitting. There was no rule preventing pickleball on the courts.
We may be a little biased towards pickleball here at the dink. A local publication, the 'OB Rag' told the story from a different perspective than the video above.
Since the incident, the PTC claims to have received an updated permit and has considered "banning" the Pickleball SD group involved in Thursday's disruption. That seems a little over the top because it does appear that these are public courts meant to be open to the community.
The commenters have been active on both the YouTube video and the OB Rag article. It's clear that both sides are willing to fight for their right to use the courts.
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In parks across the country, there are courts being used for both pickleball and tennis. It's a power struggle that does not seem to be going away any time soon.
The right to reserve courts is a complicated subject. Most parks fall under the control of local parks and rec departments. Thank you for your service, Ron Swanson. That means reservations have to be figured out by the local government which can be tough.
Most of the time, whoever takes the time to navigate that red tape has 'control' over the courts. At least that is what seems to have happened here. With pickleball interrupting the longstanding tennis established Robb Field it's expected to see to some resistance.
It seems fair that pickleball players should have the same rights to use the courts as tennis players. Hopefully, this incident makes that possible or aids in the process of getting dedicated pickleball courts nearby.