Pickleball’s popularity is booming, but so too are noise complaints. Courts nationwide face closure as irked citizens raise a racket at city council gatherings. But the world’s #1 tennis influencer, Rachel Stuhlmann, has a blunt rebuttal for the bellyachers — deal with it.
Seeking Middle Ground
“Pickleball’s not going anywhere. Fans will find a way to play on,” Stuhlmann told OutKick when asked about court closures.
Before her college career began in 2010, the University of Missouri nutrition and fitness major ranked 68th nationally as a junior player. Rachel Stuhlmann played for the Missouri Tigers and earned a career-high NCAA singles ranking of 77.
Stuhlmann’s unconcerned by the noise. She says it’s isolated and won’t hinder the sport’s growth. “Folks can share opinions; that’s fair,” Stuhlmann added. “If it keeps people up, perhaps a curfew could appease both sides.”
But across the nation, sleepy neighbors are serving up noise complaints. The village and park district volleyed over court use in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and ordered a suspension after complaints, though play resumed after a brief pause. Lawyers were called in to referee the dispute.
In Walker, Michigan, officials closed courts “until further notice” due to “unauthorized games” riling nearby residents with incessant clicking and clacking.
Pickleball is booming, and that includes the sound. Nearby neighbors are furious. https://t.co/x4T9Qxr8Kw— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 10, 2022
Mashpee, Massachusetts, aimed for compromise, closing courts on Sundays over the summer. But after just two weeks, play resumed, and the city commissioned a noise study to see if complaints had merit.
Emotions ran high during the closure, with pickleball diehards allegedly pushing through locked gates, prompting calls to police for trespassing.
Rising Sport, Rising Noise
For sufferers in the “Pickleball Noise Relief” Facebook group, it’s not just sleep disturbances — it’s the endless daily whacking that frays their nerves.
In Laguna Beach, California, Susana Cruciana measured over 75 decibels outside her home’s council-installed acoustic fencing. And the noise reached 90 on her elevated balcony, which sits above the fence. The barrier, she argues, just echoes and amplifies the noise.
“This is not a solution,” she opined. “I’m so tired of it consuming my every waking hour!”
Like Trying To Stop A Juggernaught
However, with pickleball’s soaring popularity, profit, and huge momentum, it may take a legal miracle for complainers to win a court-closure battle.
Stuhlmann concludes, “It’s amazing how many people have picked it up. I love how it’s a way for people to get out of the house and stay active and have fun. It’s so accessible and generally easy for people to pick up.
“I’ve spent some time with the Professional Pickleball Association community, and it’s filled with happy, passionate, and fun people. The tour has such a positive vibe, and I love how happy pickleball makes people.”
And pushes them to play on, noise be damned.
We’ve covered the pickleball noise problem in several of our articles. Click here to read them.
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