So, word has been spreading across the Internet about the USAPA’s decision to build its own Pickleball Hall of Fame, separate from the one true one that has existed since 2017. Dinkheads reported on the original Pickleball Hall of Fame’s new home in Austin, TX, back in January.
Here are the letters now making the rounds:
Backlash to the USAPA’s douche move — and let’s face it, this is as douche-y a move as we can think of, so pardon our language! — is coming in fast and furious. Pickleball legend Wesley Gabrielsen wrote on Facebook:
Incredibly sad and disappointed by this decision of USA PICKLEBALL to create their own hall of fame. Many people have seen this decision and are asking “why?” My fear is this action will create more division and confusion in our great sport. Being involved in the Pickleball Hall of Fame since year one, I have seen first hand the hard work, high character and diligent work of the people involved in the organization. This volunteer-based group of individuals have given so much time to help honor the pioneers of our sport. Additionally and most importantly, it has been amazing to see the impact and innovation of the pioneers of our sport as they have been honored in each induction class in the institution’s history. I know for one I cannot wait to see who’s in the 2021 class of the Hall of Fame, and in future induction classes. I, like many people, hope that our governing body reconsiders this decision and focuses on more important issues/topics in our sport that need support at the moment.
Rob Nunnery commented: “This, of all things, is what USAP[A] is spending time and resources on!?”
The Pickleball Hall of Fame let it be known they’ve tried to work with USAPA, to no avail:
“[T]here are so many other things that our governing body should be addressing to advance the sport instead of trying to replicate the Pickleball Hall of Fame which has been in existence for 5 years. Multiple efforts have been made to work with USA Pickleball to prevent a 2nd HOF for our sport, all were declined.
And more details: …”For the record, the Pickleball Hall of Fame negotiated in good faith with USA Pickleball for 7 months offering 2 Board seats, full participation and oversight… yet the offer was declined and they proceeded to launch their own hall of fame. They cited their desire for compete control as their reason not to be a part of the 5 year old Pickleball Hall of Fame.”
Marian Pasela chimed in, speaking for many: “This is not good for the sport and is a stain on the organization.”
As several observers have noted, no other major professional sport has two halls of fame. If the goal of USAPA was to bring professionalism and respectability to pickleball, it has certainly backfired as badly as a 2.0 amateur trying to lob over Jay Devilliers or Ben Johns. Cringe.
Dinkheads will keep you posted as the controversy unfolds!
Postscript: The comic-book nerds in us were somehow reminded of the DC Comics Superheroes battle between Superman and Bizarro. Spoiler alert: Superman wins!