To the editor:
We've been looking for a winter home for several years now. We, the Woodbury Pickleball Club, numbering fewer than 30 in 2012, grew to over 300 in 2018. We have a summer home: six beautiful courts at Shawnee Park, but the nets are removed in early November and the daily play of the city-sponsored club is curtailed. The club splinters and members (comprised primarily of seniors - but definitely the young-at-heart, active ones) seek indoor courts in neighboring communities.
Crosswinds School, located right across the parking lot from the Shawnee Park courts has often drawn our gaze as we fantasized about having winter courts there. Earlier this year, St. Paul purchased the facility and our advisory board began its investigation with the cities of St. Paul and Woodbury.
When asked, we gave Woodbury Parks and Recreation, the schedule we'd like to secure. Subsequently, we were invited to look at the gym, which turned out to be a blank canvas - well not quite "blank" since the gym floor already was lined with courts for multiple sports.
Nevertheless, we saw its potential. Our members had varied occupations in their "previous lives," so we had talent to develop our courts, given the chance to do so. "Retired" doesn't mean not working, so we began the tasks required to make the courts a reality - from tape to outline the courts to actual layout.
And last Monday that happened: We met at the Crosswinds gym at 9:30 a.m., armed with bright yellow tape, scissors, string, tape measures, and lots of the camaraderie that pickleball seems to foster. By noon, we had three beautifully lined courts. A new winter home - at least for this year.
Crosswinds is a temporary fix, and though the club lobbied for space at HealthEast even before it was built as Bielenberg Sports Center, no space was found for us. We still need a long-term solution, but for this year, at least, we will be able to play as a club. We have three courts and our winter schedule began Nov. 15. Pickleball is not just an obscure sport anymore. A club member, Del Kauss competed last week in the pickleball nationals and won gold. Del is winning gold, and the club feels that it too has found gold in securing Crosswinds for its winter home.