Dodgeballers and tennis players in turf war at Seattle park

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 23 at 11:33 PM

SEATTLE – The kids game is about to have an adult conversation.
 
Dodgeball has been growing in popularity on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Twice a week, a diverse collection of people gather at the tennis courts for two hours of non-stop throwing at Cal Anderson Park.
 
“There are so many sorts of people here that I would never meet,” says Hareesh Kapoor.  He says he fell in love with the game a couple years ago after dropping by while he was on a date. “I’m a jazz musician and this has become my passion.”
 
He thinks the sport, and the people who play it, should have a designated right to play the game at the park’s courts. But not everyone agrees.

That’s why the Seattle Parks Department will hold a public hearing Thursday night at 7 p.m. to discuss whether to designate underused tennis courts for new generation sports like dodgeball and bicycle polo.
 
“They should play indoors,” says Norman Frey, an avid tennis player. He blames the dodgeballers for damaging the Cal Anderson courts. “You can’t play proper tennis with courts that don’t have a good surface, where the ball doesn't bounce right, you can’t see the lines. The net is there for a specific reason and they’ve bent it out of shape.”
 
Right now, Seattle doesn’t officially allow alternative sports to use the tennis courts. But it’s a seldom-enforced rule.
 
The dodgeballers admit the courts are marked with tire tracks, but say the polo players are to blame. They also say more people use the two solo courts when they’re used for dodgeball instead of tennis.
 
“We certainly have the most efficient use of space. At most, you can get four tennis players here. But we have 100,” says Arlo Smith.
 
Kapoor believes the game should stay at Cal Anderson.

“I don’t think you’d have the same melting pot that you do here and that’s what makes it special," said Kapoor.
 

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