City of Union

Union’s weekly pickleball ladder league play was canceled for Monday, Oct. 19, after a regular player tested positive for COVID-19.

The man played in the league its first night of the season, Monday, Oct. 12, and tested positive the next day, Parks Director Chad Pohlmann told members of the board of aldermen at their parks, buildings, development and public service committee meeting Monday evening. The man has been asymptomatic.

The man told Pohlmann that he was tested for the coronavirus after he came in contact with a COVID-19-positive player in Eureka. Pohlmann said the Eureka player does not play in Union’s league. Two other Union players who played in Eureka were tested, but those tests came back negative, Pohlmann said.

Because the people who played with the man with COVID-19 on Oct. 12 were asked not to come to pickleball play this week out of caution, Pohlmann went ahead and canceled play for the entire league.

“It’s more to do with their standings, because they’re very particular pickleball people,” he said. “Because I don’t want to mess anyone’s standings up, we’re just not playing pickleball at all tonight, and we will renew the pickleball league next week.”

The pickleball league, which holds games at the City Auditorium, includes 33 people.

The auditorium opened back up to informal open pickleball play in September after being closed to the sport since the pandemic started in March. The league that began in October was the first competitive play with standings since the restart.

Players said they had been going to Phoenix Park in Washington while the auditorium was closed. They welcomed the indoor option as temperatures were cooling off.

Players, many of whom are seniors, said last month they were taking precautions playing during the pandemic. They play with the same people each day and are in the habit of washing their hands and cleaning equipment with anti-bacterial hand wipes. City workers also regularly clean balls after they are used.

Pickleball has grown in popularity in Union, as it has across the country since it started in Washington state in the 1960s. The sport combines tennis, badminton and table tennis and is played on a 20-by-40-foot court.