Update From San Diego Pickleball Players

by on October 3, 2022 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego, Sports

By Mike Shinzaki

I got into pickleball seven years ago at the suggestion of some close pals. To be honest I didn’t take to it much at first, it seemed like a silly pastime. A month later I realized I was playing everyday.

As time went on I started competing, instructing, and advocating for pickleball’s growth here in town. Pickleball quietly became the fulcrum of my entire life. It has been a beautiful surprise. I’ve gotten to know great people along the way, many of you included. Stefan Boyland as well.

In 2020, Stefan and I embarked on a coordinated, full-time undertaking to help pickleball secure its rightful place in the City of San Diego, in its parks and public spaces. Our vision: For it to be done the right way, partnered with the City, managed by the pickleball community, attuned to the local community’s best interests. It has been quite the adventure. Nearly five-thousand of you now follow along. Thanks for joining the ride! This wasn’t a quest we sought out, it kind of just came to us. After all, we are just two regular guys. We want nothing more than to be out there having fun and playing games and socializing on the courts with all of you. We are not lawyers or politicians. We are two guys who love pickleball and our city.

Although we initiated this endeavor at the onset, we never viewed it as ‘ours’ or something that ‘belonged’ to us, but rather a civic goal to contribute towards. It has always been the long-term plan to establish a formal entity that will ‘outlive’ us.

And so we have done just that. The Pickleball Association of San Diego is now officially recognized by the State of California.

It will have a Board of Directors, an Advisory Committee, and will carry on the mission of fostering pickleball’s growth in San Diego for as long as the organization exists and for as long as the City lags behind. A small but vocal handful of opposition figures can no longer disparage us (falsely, anyways) as ‘just two rogue guys,’ which is a slight to the rest of pickleball supporters too. Rather, they will have to accept the reality of a nonprofit organization many thousands strong and ever-growing. The newsletter may reach ten-thousand in 2023, especially when a facility comes to be.

Stefan and my influence will naturally decrease in lieu of an increase in community participation and involvement. We will remain key cogs for as long as it makes sense, but our voting power will wane over time, as it should. The organization will conduct itself and make decisions as a team, promoting community collaboration.

I am beyond excited for the future of pickleball in San Diego. We have had our share of trials and tribulations, dealing with various powers and influences over the past year. We have encountered biases, unfairness, and vested interests, been dragged through the mud in every possible way, inches short of being robbed of our own personal joy for the sport altogether. It’s OK though and it’s worth it. We have learned a lot. The community is organized, pickleball now has a voice. We made the front page of the Union Tribune, for crying out loud! There is a bright future ahead.

Stay tuned for how you can participate moving forward. This will not be a program based on membership and annual dues, though at some point soon it will be possible for folks to donate to the cause. There will certainly be overhead as the organization continues its advocacy for public courts (none towards wages, though). For years, we have simply donated personal funds, which we have been more than happy to do. But going forward there will be a formal treasury, expenditures will be public and transparent. We will do things the right way as a nonprofit organization.

We are pleased to announce native San Diegan David Coppa as the third official Board member of The Pickleball Association of San Diego. David has been an integral part of meetings with City officials over the past half-year. We will introduce the Advisory Committee soon. The Board will gradually expand and members will funnel through the Advisory Committee, comprised of well-respected folks who have devoted significant time and energy to the local pickleball scene and have greatly impacted the community. We spent two months vetting candidates far and wide in order to commence with a great group of representatives. You’ve probably played with some of them. The organization’s online presence will get a facelift, too.

The next chapter of pickleball in San Diego starts now. This is an inevitable, logical progression, and it was long overdue. We are proud and excited to be a part of this, and happy to have you alongside as we take this big step forward.

If you would like to communicate with me directly, email mike@pickleball-sd.com.

Now, let’s get back to work!

Mike Shinzaki, along with Stefan Boyland and David Coppa


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris October 3, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Double plus good!!


Frank Gormlie October 3, 2022 at 12:39 pm

You’re funny, Chris. And I know where you got that quote.


Chris October 3, 2022 at 1:29 pm

I want the first official public P-ball courts to be called Winston Courts.


Debby October 4, 2022 at 6:33 am

I know that if pickleball courts are built at Robb Field, they’ll be so many of us in the area daily, buying gas, food, lunch etc …


P Smitty October 5, 2022 at 10:53 am

Well said. When Lebron James and other celebrities are now investing in the sport, its overdue for the city of San Diego to respond in kind with some public support of pickleball. Its a sport for the masses and San Diego will soon recognize its the smartest decision they have yet to make.


Chris October 6, 2022 at 8:33 am

What would REALLY be cool to see is a hipster bike polo takeover of tennis courts:


Alison morgan October 15, 2022 at 5:10 pm

Such amazing progress done by you two! Thank you for persevering. Hopefully soon the tragedy (or lameness) of no Pickleball courts within the city of San Diego will be over!


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