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Pickleball Cunts!

ARLINGTON, Va. — It sounded like popcorn warming in a microwave: sporadic bursts that quickened, gradually, to an arrhythmic clatter.

“There it is,” Mary McKee said, staring out the front door of her home in Arlington, Virginia, on a recent afternoon.

McKee, 43, a conference planner, moved to the neighborhood in 2005 and for the next decade and a half enjoyed a mostly tranquil existence. Then came the pickleball players.

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She gestured across the street to the Walter Reed Community Center, less than 100 feet from her yard, where a group of players, the first of the day, had started rallying on a repurposed tennis court. More arrived in short order, spreading out until there were six games going at once. Together they produced an hourslong ticktock cacophony that has become the unwanted soundtrack of the lives of McKee and her neighbors.

“I thought maybe I could live with it, maybe it would fade into the background,” she said of the clamor, which began around the height of the coronavirus pandemic and now reverberates through her home, even when her windows are closed. “But it never did.”

Sports can produce all kinds of unpleasant noises: referees’ whistles, rancorous boos, vuvuzelas. But the most grating and disruptive sound in the entire athletic ecosystem right now might be the staccato pop-pop-pop emanating from America’s rapidly multiplying pickleball courts.

The sound has brought on a nationwide scourge of frayed nerves and unneighborly clashes — and those, in turn, have elicited petitions and calls to police and last-ditch lawsuits aimed at the local parks, private clubs and homeowners associations that rushed to open courts during the sport’s recent boom.

The hubbub has given new meaning to the phrase racket sport, testing the sanity of anyone within earshot of a game.

“It’s like having a pistol range in your backyard,” said John Mancini, 82, whose Wellesley, Massachusetts, home abuts a cluster of public courts.

“It’s a torture technique,” said Clint Ellis, 37, who lives across the street from a private club in York, Maine.

“Living here is hell,” said Debbie Nagle, 67, whose gated community in Scottsdale, Arizona, installed courts a few years ago.

Modern society is inherently inharmonious — think of children shouting, dogs barking, lawn mowers roaring. So what makes the sound of pickleball, specifically, so hard to tolerate?

For answers, many have turned to Bob Unetich, 77, a retired engineer and avid pickleball player, who became one of the foremost authorities on muffling the game after starting a consulting firm called Pickleball Sound Mitigation. Unetich said that pickleball whacks from 100 feet away could reach 70 dBA (a measure of decibels), similar to some vacuum cleaners, while everyday background noise outside typically tops off at a “somewhat annoying 55.”

But decibel readings alone are insufficient for conveying the true magnitude of any annoyance. Two factors — the high pitch of a hard paddle slamming a plastic ball and the erratic, often frantic rhythm of the smacks — also contribute to its uncanny ability to drive bystanders crazy.

“It creates vibrations in a range that can be extremely annoying to humans,” Unetich said.

These bad vibrations have created an unforeseen growing pain for pickleball, which emerged from relative obscurity in recent years to become the fastest-growing sport in the country.

The sounds were even dissected last month at Noise-Con 2023, the annual conference of North American noise control professionals, which featured an opening-night session called “Pickleball Noise.”

“Pickleball is the topic of the year,” said Jeanette Hesedahl, vice chair for the conference.

The same story, the same jarring sound, has echoed across American communities like rolling thunder.

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by Anonymousreply 76December 5, 2023 9:05 PM

Sue-Ellen Welfonder, 66, a bestselling romance novelist from Longboat Key, Florida, once enjoyed listening to the singing birds and the gentle swish of trees during her daily walks — her “soul balm time” — through a local park. The thump-thump of a tennis match never bothered her, either. But the arrival of pickleball this spring, she said, shattered her idyll.

“Pickleball has replaced leaf blowers as my No. 1 noise nuisance,” said Welfonder, who has been sketching the outlines of a new novel, set in the present day, with a couple of pickleball-loving characters: “I’m making them really nasty people.”

The complaints were equally dramatic at a Feb. 6 City Council meeting in West Linn, Oregon, where residents have been vexed by the constant click-clacking from Tanner Creek Park.

“One of our neighbors who lived directly across from the courts and was dying from cancer noted the pickleball noise was worse than his cancer,” Dan Lavery, a West Linn resident, said at the meeting. “Sadly, he recently passed.”

Scores of similarly suffering Americans are finding their way to a rapidly growing Facebook group, also started by Unetich, where upward of 1,000 frazzled users exchange technical advice, let off steam and engage in a sort of group therapy.

“We try to keep it civil,” Unetich said, “because it gets pretty emotional.”

A few lessons have crystallized within the group. Soundproof barriers — a go-to solution for many at first — can be expensive and are often improperly deployed. New paddles and balls designed to dampen noise have had marginal uptake among players. Moving pickleball far away from human life may be the only surefire solution — but many are slow to reach that conclusion, which presents its own hurdles.

Irritated homeowners, as a result, often resort to fighting pickleball courts in the courts of law.

Last year, Rob Mastroianni, 58, and his neighbors in Falmouth, Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit against their town claiming that the courts near their homes violated local sound ordinances. They won a temporary injunction, which has closed the facility for now. By then Mastroianni had already sold his house and moved to a different part of town to escape the noise.

“I was Google Mapping the new house, making sure there were no courts nearby,” Mastroianni said.

In Arlington, McKee and her neighbors around the community center are waiting to see what happens next. They shared their pain with the county, which for now appears to be moving forward with plans to spend close to $2 million to make the pickleball courts permanent.

The players there sympathized with the residents’ plight — but only to an extent.

“If I had that home, I’d be mad, because it is annoying — it’s obnoxious,” Jordan Sawyer, 25, a dietitian from Arlington and an avid player, said between games this month. “But I don’t feel bad because I want to play, and this is the best place to play. Honestly, I just feel like it’s unfortunate. It’s unlucky for these people.”

Sawyer described herself as a “rule follower.” But McKee and the others recounted being woken up at 3 a.m. by middle-of-the-night pickleball matches. Another time they listened to a player banging a tambourine on the court, apparently to taunt those who had complained.

Armand Ciccarelli, 51, who often walks his dog, Winona, around the community center, said that anybody downplaying pickleball noise should try hearing it for 12 hours a day.

“I know this seems like a small thing in the grand scheme of the world, where we’re dealing with big things, like climate change,” Ciccarelli said. “But, as you can see, it’s a nationwide problem.”

by Anonymousreply 1July 2, 2023 3:00 AM


Pickleball is the new leaf blower.

Fucking old people problems.

by Anonymousreply 2July 2, 2023 3:01 AM

I was once in a band called “Pickleball Cunts,”

by Anonymousreply 3July 2, 2023 3:03 AM

My last boyfriend told me that I have pickleballs.

by Anonymousreply 4July 2, 2023 3:06 AM

Who is in the picture at OP?

by Anonymousreply 5July 2, 2023 3:06 AM

OP, I love you more’n my luggage.

by Anonymousreply 6July 2, 2023 3:07 AM

[quote] Sports can produce all kinds of unpleasant noises: referees’ whistles, rancorous boos, vuvuzelas. But the most grating and disruptive sound in the entire athletic ecosystem right now might be the staccato pop-pop-pop emanating from America’s rapidly multiplying pickleball courts.

Omg, whoever wrote this article is FABULOUS!

by Anonymousreply 7July 2, 2023 3:11 AM

There WILL be a mass shooting at a pickle ball court. If a guy was killed for using his leaf blower and annoying an old guy who then shot him, well...

We are not a civilized people.

by Anonymousreply 8July 2, 2023 4:33 AM

This would drive me insane. It's one thing to have a temporary sound annoyance, such as nearby construction, but an awful sound every day with no end in sight?

I would move.

The attitude of the players is obnoxious.

All this for a sport with a dumbass name. I guarantee the majority are playing ironically because it started as a game senior citizens played at the community center.

by Anonymousreply 9July 2, 2023 6:25 AM

Honestly–this wouldn't annoy the fuck out of you? I have misophonia so I know I'm not unbiased, but it's hard for me to imagine many people accepting that constant noise as the background to their lives.

It should be played indoors or far away from residential areas.

by Anonymousreply 10July 2, 2023 6:30 AM

Doesn't seem as bad as a skateboard hitting the pavement every two seconds.

by Anonymousreply 11July 2, 2023 7:27 AM

[quote] Pickleball is the new leaf blower. Fucking old people problems

R2 8 hours or more of highly annoying, erratic noise is not an old people problem. They should have to do that shit indoors. And leafblowers definitely are a pain in the ass to.

by Anonymousreply 12July 2, 2023 7:51 AM

this would drive me fucking bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

by Anonymousreply 13July 2, 2023 9:18 AM

A local park near my house has installed two dozen pickleball courts - I used to use the walking trail there but those pickleball people have ruined the park.

by Anonymousreply 14July 2, 2023 12:12 PM

How inconvenient to read that just before leaving as Madonna and I were to meet at 10 AM to play some pickleball.

by Anonymousreply 15July 2, 2023 12:29 PM

I get the sense that people complaining about the pickleball people would just be complaining about something else because a lot of these types of arguments are really about who gets to use or "own" public spaces, on the other hand, I know some pickleball player who are so single minded & obnoxious about it, I could see how they'd get on everyone's nerves and act like assholes out of spite.

by Anonymousreply 16July 2, 2023 12:41 PM

Shittiest thread alert

by Anonymousreply 17July 2, 2023 12:49 PM

The city park around the corner from me transformed two tennis courts into pickleball courts a few years ago. I never heard anything but the people whose houses backed up to the court were not thrilled. They complained that games were going on well past the 10pm park closing time. The city put up notices at the courts and spread the word on social media, but late-night players ignored it. The courts were closed and changed back to tennis courts the next summer. Tennis players are apparently more observant of social norms.

by Anonymousreply 18July 2, 2023 1:34 PM

^which is interesting, because pickleball & tennis seem like (more or less) a variation on the same thing. I wonder why the tennis players were more apt to observe the rules versus the pickleball players who were so annoying they eventually lost their courts?

by Anonymousreply 19July 2, 2023 1:58 PM

Pickle ball seems annoying, I’m glad there are none near my home, but people in my town who have pickle ball courts near their homes complain about them, and the pickle ballers respond similarly to the pickle baller in this article. (A bit obnoxiously.)

People should have peace in their homes. If pickle ball is as loud as described, and is a noise violation, the complaining neighbors should be accommodated, e.g., soundproofing, or a locked court with limited hours of play.

by Anonymousreply 20July 2, 2023 2:18 PM

[quote]^which is interesting, because pickleball & tennis seem like (more or less) a variation on the same thing. I wonder why the tennis players were more apt to observe the rules versus the pickleball players who were so annoying they eventually lost their courts?

Income level.

by Anonymousreply 21July 2, 2023 2:30 PM

I heavily researched the tight blond boy yesterday in the NYT because you know I’m an old pervert and that’s what we do.

Sadly, nothing to see here. He went to an ultra Christian Conservative College in Pennsylvania and now works in Arlington as a Youth Minister.

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by Anonymousreply 22July 2, 2023 2:32 PM

My sense is that income level is about the same for pickleball and tennis. Pickleball requires a ton of stupid, expensive gear just like tennis requires a big outlay. I think there are two differences. One is that pickleball players travel in packs, and people feel emboldened to break the rules when they belong to a group. The other is that tennis has been around for a long time, and it has a well-established etiquette. Pickleball is still evolving, so it's not there yet.

by Anonymousreply 23July 2, 2023 2:36 PM

This seems like a nonissue to me. There have to be noise pollution statutes on the books. You just call the police whenever the statute is violated. And keep calling. And have your neighbors call. Each time the sports center gets a violation. If it’s a public court, the player or village gets it.

Economics will dictate response. If it’s that fucking loud, it should be played in an enclosed area.

by Anonymousreply 24July 2, 2023 2:53 PM

People under the NYT article commenting that they should just change the ball and/or paddle ignore the fact that both were carefully designed to produce the most addictive sound possible, much like that Facebook notification sound you get on your phone. Addictive for the players, and unbearable for everyone else. So no one is changing shit and this is only going to get worse.

by Anonymousreply 25July 2, 2023 3:47 PM

Nothing to see, R22?

He's HOT!

Who is he?

by Anonymousreply 26July 2, 2023 3:52 PM

[quote] Doesn't seem as bad as a skateboard hitting the pavement every two seconds.

The tradeoff is that you get to ogle hot, shirtless skater twinks on their skateboards.

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by Anonymousreply 27July 2, 2023 3:55 PM

He’s wearing a liberty university shirt. Ugh.

by Anonymousreply 28July 2, 2023 4:37 PM

I prefer squash

by Anonymousreply 29July 2, 2023 5:00 PM

r26 Hayden Sealander

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by Anonymousreply 30July 2, 2023 7:55 PM

[quote]I heavily researched the tight blond boy yesterday in the NYT because you know I’m an old pervert and that’s what we do.

Make no apologies, you're doing the Lord's work

by Anonymousreply 31July 2, 2023 9:54 PM

Why is it called pickleball?

by Anonymousreply 32July 3, 2023 9:25 AM

Because the homeowners are in a pickle.

by Anonymousreply 33July 3, 2023 11:05 AM

sound mitigation!

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by Anonymousreply 34July 3, 2023 11:13 AM

r22 How is youth minister still a viable fucking career path in the year of our Lord 2023? And he did that disgusting "let's talk AT black people about Christ now" photo-op with the Africans as well. Eugh, I hate him.

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by Anonymousreply 35July 3, 2023 12:03 PM

R35, these kids can’t molest themselves.

by Anonymousreply 36July 3, 2023 12:12 PM

Naked pickle ball!

by Anonymousreply 37July 3, 2023 12:14 PM

Pickleball is a hipster fad that has spread, but will die back, just like ironic adult kickball leagues have.

by Anonymousreply 38July 3, 2023 12:19 PM

If this is the biggest issue in your life then sit down and shut the fuck up. Pickle ball noise, really? A new thing for Karen’s and Ken’s to complain about.

by Anonymousreply 39July 3, 2023 12:26 PM

[quote]Karen’s and Ken’s

Karen’s and Ken’s what, dear?

by Anonymousreply 40July 3, 2023 12:37 PM

"Karen's and Ken's" is the plural form of "Karen and Ken".

Punctuation has evolved.

You're welcome, r40.

by Anonymousreply 41July 3, 2023 1:19 PM

[quote] "Karen's and Ken's" is the plural form of "Karen and Ken".

[quote] Punctuation has evolved.


by Anonymousreply 42July 3, 2023 1:22 PM

R39 doesn't know the difference between possessives and plurals, poor dumb cunt.

And maybe if the pickleball court were outside your window, you'd feel a little differently about it.

Same with the queen at R2.

by Anonymousreply 43July 3, 2023 1:30 PM

R26 R35 Agree. He is in need of a deep de-programming.

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by Anonymousreply 44July 3, 2023 1:54 PM

[quote]One of our neighbors who lived directly across from the courts and was dying from cancer noted the pickleball noise was worse than his cancer.


by Anonymousreply 45July 3, 2023 2:06 PM

How dare you attack little children!

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by Anonymousreply 46July 28, 2023 2:35 AM

"I bought property across the street from a public space for cheap and now am pissed people are actually using the space."

by Anonymousreply 47July 28, 2023 2:42 AM

Surely it's not as loud and obnoxious as an RFK Jr press dinner.

by Anonymousreply 48July 28, 2023 3:24 AM

My small city installed eight pickleball courts down the street from me. They are always filled with middle aged Asian women.

by Anonymousreply 49July 28, 2023 3:30 AM


I find the gentle thwack of the tennis ball soothing, actually. The only pickle ball court I know of (I’m sure there are plenty more) is a huge outdoor bar on a major street in Austin so people there expect noise.

by Anonymousreply 50July 28, 2023 3:35 AM

Can you imagine all the complaints back in the Monica Seles era when grunting each time you hit the ball was a real thing.

by Anonymousreply 51July 28, 2023 4:32 PM

Pickleball noise? Really?

Well why don't they invent a quieter racket and ball?

by Anonymousreply 52July 28, 2023 5:27 PM

[quote] Sadly, nothing to see here. He went to an ultra Christian Conservative College in Pennsylvania and now works in Arlington as a Youth Minister.

He’ll be in the news again soon, I’d wager.

by Anonymousreply 53July 28, 2023 5:33 PM

Why is it so popular? I've never seen it played. Does it require less athleticism than tennis?

by Anonymousreply 54July 28, 2023 6:12 PM

[quote]Why is it so popular?

For the same reason that dodgeball and kickball leagues became big a few years ago.

by Anonymousreply 55July 28, 2023 6:14 PM

R55 what was that reason?

by Anonymousreply 56July 28, 2023 10:34 PM

Trendy, R56.

Trends that come in quickly and leave quickly.

by Anonymousreply 57July 28, 2023 10:45 PM

Fuck Pickleball!!

by Anonymousreply 58October 30, 2023 2:57 PM

Pickleball kills.

by Anonymousreply 59October 30, 2023 3:03 PM

🎶 Pickleball cunts won’t you come out tonight?🎵

by Anonymousreply 60October 30, 2023 3:51 PM

They don't care. I mean the people converting tennis courts and building new Pickleball courts. Developers have latched on to these like a remora to a shark's ass and as a person in the design field that deals with land planning and landscape design, I have talked till I am blue in the face to make clients understand the insanity of putting these so close to homes. One project I am working on has 20 homes within 100 feet of FOUR courts. Nothing I can say can change this guy's mind. Eight are within 25 feet. The sound will probably cause 50 future homeowners to go insane. Another project, a conversion, 15 homes within 10 feet.


by Anonymousreply 61October 30, 2023 4:11 PM

No it does not require the athleticism of tennis. Which is the appeal. On this point as a tennis player, I reserve the right to try it and take it up as an elder person.

That said, it's a really dumb trend that needs to die. It's a ping pong tennis hybrid played with whiffle balls. It's loud. It looks stupid. The only good thing about is removable temporary nets. Tennis courts near me yesterday had 4 games going on two tennis courts. That's nice, pack it away!

by Anonymousreply 62October 30, 2023 4:14 PM

Ah, it's a whiffle ball and the courts are half the size of tennis courts. So it's more accessible than tennis for the lesser coordinated and athletically ungifted.

by Anonymousreply 63October 30, 2023 5:56 PM

R13 appease don’t ever quote that god awful song again. EVER.

by Anonymousreply 64October 30, 2023 6:06 PM

Sorry R54. I wasn't clear. I was looking at 8 games on two courts. Like so. The whiffle ball might be slightly different than ones we may have encountered as kids but it's definitely a whiffle ball. A lot less running for sure.

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by Anonymousreply 65October 30, 2023 6:07 PM

Pickleball cunts gave Michelle Pfeiffer a black eye!

[quote] Michelle Pfeiffer shares photos of black eye she sustained playing pickleball

Michelle Pfeiffer posted photos on Instagram Friday showing off the black eye she sustained playing pickleball.

The 65-year-old actress is seen icing her face in one picture.

Another shows her smiling with her eyes open, with the bruise still visible, while a third shows her with one eye closed, revealing the full extent of the injury.

"WARNING! Pickleball-Stay out of the Kitchen!! Thank you, Less!" Pfeiffer captioned the gallery.

Pfeiffer's sister Deedee added, "But she kept on playing."

The actress' celebrity followers were quick to comment.

"That's why I don't play," said Julianne Moore.

"Ouch!" remarked Naomi Watts.

"Damn. Can't sell beauty products and play pickle, it seems," wrote Alec Baldwin.

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by Anonymousreply 66December 3, 2023 6:33 AM

I saw Julianne Moore in a catcher's mask playing with her pickleballs

by Anonymousreply 67December 3, 2023 9:46 AM

R24, I tried that once in my little corner of Suburbia, calling the police over a different source of loud noise.

The response: The police don't have decibel-measuring instruments or the time to go around citing people for violations of a noise ordinance.

Moreover, said ordinances often ALLOW LOUD NOISE about 16 hours a day. Vehicles, machinery, animals, musical instruments (I'm learning drums, so I wanted to know about the laws), etc.

IOW, the police ain't got time for no PICKLEBALL complaints!

I would be maddened, such that I probably would park myself right at the courts and blast the players with noise of my own---an airhorn, Heavy Metal, tape of a baby wailing, something. Goose, gander.

by Anonymousreply 68December 3, 2023 9:58 AM

Boy would your other neighbors love you !

by Anonymousreply 69December 3, 2023 10:56 AM

I'm here for y'all bitches!

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by Anonymousreply 70December 3, 2023 12:20 PM

Pickleball horror

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by Anonymousreply 71December 3, 2023 12:44 PM

Let me guess! I bet the complainers are Gen X.

They live to complain.

by Anonymousreply 72December 4, 2023 6:21 PM

Old people are always annoying. They're either poking at an apple asking why it's not making any calls or they're playing stupid games with pickled balls.

by Anonymousreply 73December 4, 2023 6:35 PM

Had never heard of pickleball until a few months ago, and then it was everywhere. Last night I saw there was a celebrity pickleball tournament to raise money for Comic Relief-- put it on out of curiosity and as they explained the game and its rules (a combintation of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, uses paddles instead of a racquet, a hollow wiffle ball instead of a tennis ball, smaller than a tennis court) I realized what about the game had been so disturbing to me. It's tennis for children, but adults play it. I don't have anything against adults having childlike fun, but one or two generations ago adults had fun while being genuinely athletic, developing a skill, and challenging themselves to improve. I'm sure you do work up a sweat playing pickleball, and anything is better than being sedentary, but it seems to me like further proof of the dumbing down of the human race.

by Anonymousreply 74December 4, 2023 8:37 PM

Those sure are some lovingly captured picture of the pickleball twink Sealander in that article. Either the writer or the photographer seem to be in love.

by Anonymousreply 75December 4, 2023 9:34 PM

They should, r69. I'm as quiet as the proverbial church mouse.

by Anonymousreply 76December 5, 2023 9:05 PM
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