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First world problems 

Is it tennis? Badminton? Pingpong? Or is it gentrification and colonialism all rolled into one? And where will the unicycling juggler go? That’s the dilemma at Morro Bay's Del Mar Park, where pickleballers have rolled over past users of the park and convinced the city to transform the park’s roller rink—once home to roller derbyists, indoor soccer players, skateboarders, adorable children, well behaved dogs, and that juggling dude on the unicycle—into pickleball courts!

The horror! The horror!

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Morro Bay City Council listened to roller derby players weep actual tears at the loss of their practice space, and those city leaders didn’t care, giving pickleball the unanimous approval because they’re apparently immune to women’s tears, the bastards! Roller derby is the only sport where many of these ladies feel welcome, where they’ve found a home and family, and where they can be called cool nicknames like Axels of Evil or 1/2 Pint Destroy Her or Stiffy Napalm. And now the only spot in the county to practice is SLO Town’s Santa Rosa Park. Clearly, this is a Level Neon Red, Defcon 1, Five-Alarm Emergency!

In one corner is the MBPC (aka the Morro Bay Pickleball Club) helmed by Kathy Thomas and her cadre of politically savvy retirees, and in the other is the CCRD (aka Central Coast Roller Derby) helmed by knee sock-wearing, body-checking badasses with scant political experience, no money, and weekly Bactine-requiring-scrapes.

“The needs of the many does outweigh the wishes of a few,” Robert Thomas, husband of MBPC President Kathy Thomas, told a past City Council gathering. “Everyone can play pickleball.”

Really? Everyone, Bob? Can women on roller skates wearing tights, elbow pads, and helmets play pickleball, Bob? Can they? Can that dude on the unicycle play? Not while juggling he can’t!

Yes, it’s true that pickleballers outnumber roller derbyists, but the pickleballers are acting like taking over Del-Mar is their Manifest Destiny! It’ll be roller derby genocide! Don’t accept the blankets, ladies! They’re tainted with Dengue fever, cholera, smallpox, and maybe mediumpox and bigpox too! All the poxes!

And isn’t the Constitution of the United States designed to protect the rights of the minority over the tyranny of the majority? Isn’t it, pickleballers? Where’s your patriotism?

Originally the MBPC set its sights on the tennis courts at Monte Young Park. They figured they’d add some new lines for their smaller-size courts and the tennis and pickleball players could just share, but not so fast, MBPC! Tennis players are no pushover roller derbyists and they’re not into sharing! 

“The pickleball players have kind of gotten the attitude that they can go ahead and take over the courts,” Lynda Merrill, a Morro Bay tennis player, said. “If you were playing tennis next to them, they make a noise with the hard paddle and this sort of Wiffle ball, that makes a ‘clack clack clack’ sound every time they hit it.”

For the love of all that’s holy and sacred! Tennis takes concentration! How’s someone going to get the correct amount of backspin on her drop shot with all that clack-clack-clacking going on?

These pickleballers seem to think that because pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America that all the other sports should just curl up and die. Outta the way, bocce ball! Move it, Jarts!

Pickleballers, über alles!

“It’s good for hand-eye coordination and quickness. If you look out here, we’re all geezers,” 75-year-old Harry Mollgaard noted in an earlier New Times story about pickleball.

Guess what, geezers? Lots of sports are good for hand-eye coordination and quickness. According to Fraser Horn, doctor of osteopathy and instructor of Sports and Recreational Vision at Pacific University in Oregon, juggling is what you need.

“When you’re juggling, you’re actually looking up to the upper point where the balls cross and your brain is making decisions on where your hands need to move based on that,” Horn said. “There’s really no better way to train your eye-hand coordination—we teach it to all of our athletes, from middle schoolers up to professionals.”

Horn didn’t mention adding in unicycling, but one can imagine added benefits, right? 

Look, we can’t let geezers take over. That’s the bottom line. They already control everything, and now they’re goose-stepping into our roller rinks like a Silver-Haired AARP Army! They already took over Paso Robles’ Centennial Park roller rink!

First they came for our skateboarders, but I didn’t speak out because I was not a skateboarder. Then they came for our juggling unicyclist, but I didn’t speak out because I was not that juggling unicyclist. Then they came for our roller derbyists, but I didn’t not speak out because I don’t look good in leggings and I’m seriously afraid of breaking a hip. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for shredders.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where every new sport thinks that because of its popularity and sheer number of participants it should be able to supplant ladies skating in a circle and throwing elbows at each other, because America!  

The Shredder juggles big balls. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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