Pickleball: Colorado’s Newest Love-Hate Relationship

Pickleball, the paddle sport that’s taking the world by storm, has found itself in an unexpected tug-of-war in the picturesque state of Colorado. In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing dynamics of why this seemingly innocent sport is stirring up controversy and why Coloradoans can’t seem to make up their minds about it.


The Pickleball Craze Sweeping Colorado

Pickleball is not a new invention; it dates back to the mid-1960s. However, it’s only in recent years that this hybrid of tennis, badminton, and ping pong has gained significant popularity in the Centennial State. There’s even a brand-new indoor pickleball gym in Loveland, highlighting the growing interest in this sport.

The Simplicity of Pickleball

Pickleball requires minimal equipment – a paddle, a ball resembling a Whiffle ball, and a court. Its accessibility is one of its primary attractions, but embracing pickleball within certain Colorado towns and cities has proven to be quite the challenge.

Why the Animosity Towards Pickleball?

1. “It’s not really a sport. It’s more of an activity; a game.”

Critics argue that pickleball lacks the depth and rigor of traditional sports. To them, it’s more of a pastime than a bona fide sport.

2. “It’s too trendy. If everyone’s doing it, I’m out.”

Some Coloradans are simply averse to trends. If pickleball becomes too mainstream, they want no part of it.

3. “It’s an old people’s game.”

Pickleball’s reputation as a favorite among retirees has caused younger generations to view it with skepticism.

The Noise Complaint Conundrum

One of the most significant complaints against pickleball in Colorado centers around the noise it generates. However, is this fuss justified? After all, it’s the sound of people having a good time without causing harm to anyone else.

In September 2023, the city of Centennial took a drastic step by implementing an ordinance that imposed a six-month ban on constructing new pickleball courts within 500 feet of residential areas. The sponsors of the ordinance argued that pickleball posed an immediate and unreasonable risk to public health and safety.

A Decibel Dilemma

Centennial’s ordinance also introduced a noise level cap for pickleball, set at 47 decibels. To put this in perspective, here are some common sounds and their decibel levels:

  • City Traffic: 85 decibels
  • Normal Conversation: 60-70 decibels
  • Household Refrigerator: 55 decibels
  • Suburban Area at Night: 40 decibels

If pickleball in Centennial reaches the noise level of a typical refrigerator, does it warrant such strict regulation? The specifics remain vague—are they targeting individual courts or the cumulative noise from multiple courts? Will they eventually start banning conversations for being too noisy?

The Domino Effect: Other Colorado Cities React

Centennial is not alone in its stance against pickleball. In April 2023, Denver decided to prohibit pickleball at Congress Park due to noise complaints. The timing and reasons behind these actions raise questions about the future of pickleball in the state.


The debate over pickleball in Colorado is far from settled. While some embrace it as a fun and accessible activity, others reject it as a passing trend or an inconvenience. The noise issue has only intensified the controversy, with cities like Centennial and Denver taking measures to address it. As the battle between pickleball enthusiasts and detractors rages on, one thing is clear – pickleball’s place in the heart of Colorado remains uncertain.


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