In a shocking turn of events, the equipment shed at the Santa Monica Pickleball Club was burned down yesterday.
Sympathy And Support
It was not only the loss of the building that hit the club hard but also the fact that its pickleball supplies were inside the shed at the time. That meant the supply of nets, balls, dividers, signs, banners, and loaner paddles were all destroyed as well.
It was not all doom and gloom, however. In an incredible show of sympathy and support, the pickleball community came together and offered all kinds of help, from replacement equipment to holding an open-play fundraiser!
The fundraising event was held at the SMPC home courts on Wilshire Boulevard, and participants paid $25 to play, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the replacement of the items lost. There was no capacity cap on the event.
The outpouring on Facebook was simply huge, with offers of paddles especially coming thick and fast:
Galit Gurman led the way by saying, “I have one paddle I can donate,” while Alicia Celmer added, “I have 2 paddles to donate.”
Marcus Holmquist said, “I own a paddle company and would love to donate some paddles! What’s the best address to send them to?”
Deborah A. Howell said, “I have paddles, a net, and will donate toward the new shed. Maybe we can ask the police association next door for a security camera.”
Majken Horst Kiyohara said “Let’s help each other and the club! We have a ZENY Portable Pickleball Net we are happy to lend to the club for open play.
The club also reached out to Selkirk, and they responded by donating new nets and paddles.
The co-founder Stephanie McCaffrey said: “We just wanted to do what we could to help, so we offered free courts through Friday before 5 p.m.
“We don’t have many open spaces at night due to pre-existing reservations and corporate events, but when we do, it’s $5 per person to come play tonight.”
“We were also set to host a networking event in partnership with the Santa Monica Pickleball Club a week from today on Monday [October 2], and we’ve now changed that from a networking event to a fundraiser where all proceeds, including ticket sales, will go to the pickleball club,”
“We’ve also posted the details on the Santa Monica Pickleball Facebook group page, and it will be on our website [picklepop.co] If anyone wants to reserve a court, though, instead of going to our website, they should email [email protected].
“We’re handling these reservations manually because there’s going to be a lot of demand, and Eric wants to make sure people don’t double book.”
Mary Pat Faley, co-founder of Pickletown, located at 1431 Lincoln Blvd, stated her business would be collaborating with PicklePop, providing resource sharing, instructional sessions, and contributions towards the fundraiser set for October 2nd at the Promenade venue.
Video Of Today’s Turnout
Several images and videos on Facebook show that a large contingent had turned up to play at 8 a.m. local time, and the courts were back in use as this article was being written.
Lynn Soodik, President of Santa Monica Pickleball Club, posted a photo with the caption: “Players waiting in line to return with their personal nets to share with all for open play. This event has only made us stronger!”
Mik James Hamada was streaming live from the courts.
Background To The Incident
The Santa Monica Fire Department responded to a reported outside fire at 1401 Olympic Blvd around 1:14 yesterday morning. The fire affected the storage area and adjacent tennis fence, which were expeditiously extinguished by the fire crews.
Fortunately, there were no reported injuries, and following the investigation, the cause of the fire remained undetermined.
Lieutenant Erika Aklufi from the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) stated that the incident is under investigation and being treated as a suspected case of arson. The park houses 16 pickleball courts in a hybrid configuration alongside four tennis courts.
Ho Nguyen, co-founder of the Santa Monica Pickleball Club, confirmed that the process of clearing and repairing was due to commence straight away.
Andrew Gomez, Vice Chair of the Recreation and Parks Commission, emphasized the importance of identifying the responsible party: “I hope that they find who is responsible if it is arson because there was a lot of equipment in there and it all needs to be replaced.
“I’m just keen to see it get repaired, fixed, and everything replaced as soon as possible.”
Recovery and Support
Thanks to Selkirk and Picklepop’s support and generous donation of pickleball equipment, Santa Monica Pickleball Club plans to resume operations as soon as possible. Soodik explains that before they take any public donations, they want to take some time to plan out the club’s recovery.
“Because the Santa Monica Pickleball Center, Picklepop, and Selkirk have been so generous, we need to wait and see if we need any additional funds to make us whole. We would appreciate people bringing their private nets for public use during open play until we have our nets replaced and a place to store them. We are a community, and we can do this. I will keep you posted on Facebook, both our Facebook page and Chat groups, as to the status of the courts. We expect courts 1, 2, and 4 to be open sometime this week.”Lynn Soodik, President of the Santa Monica Pickleball Club
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