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Pickleball Goes to Hollywood – The Adventurous Boomer


Pickleball Goes to Hollywood

Well, using the word Hollywood here is certainly a stretch, but a feature film entitled Pickleball Princess will be coming to a television or computer or phone near you in late July or early August, a product from middle Tennessee. They say that almost every work of fiction contains a grain of fact/truth. That is certainly true in the case of Pickleball Princess, which apparently will be the first feature film to revolve around pickleball. It most certainly will not be the last movie featuring the fastest growing sport in America.

Almost 5 years ago, Donald James Parker (the producer of the movie) arrived at the tennis courts at 7:00 AM for a much-anticipated match against his businessman friend who rarely got away from the office for tennis. He was the only person that Parker had found to play against, and it was their first outing of the year. When he popped open the gate to the courts, he discovered to his considerable chagrin, that the tennis courts were gone, reconfigured into pickleball courts.  To say that he was irritated would be an understatement. Latching onto the age-old advice of “If you can’t beat them, join them”, Parker swapped out his tennis racquet for a $10 wooden Franklin paddle and found a place to wield it. Before a year had passed, the inspiration to write a movie script about his adventure yielded a story that he was sure would be a hit with picklers around the globe. After failing to find anyone that shared his vision, he decided in May of 2023 that it was time to finance this project on his own. Six weeks later he is finishing up the pre-production work and rehearsing with the cast.

Will the viewers see celebrities like Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns?  Will they witness some high level pickleball action? Sorry. Those are things that will have to wait for another day and another producer. As pickleball expands into pro leagues, intercollegiate competition, and high school and youth clubs, there will be even more demand for entertainment involving that upstart sport which is causing tennis courts to vanish across the nation and gracing large shops in malls and plazas that were once occupied by big box stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond. Now that celebrities such as Lebron James and Tom Brady and Dak Prescott and others are getting involved in major league pickleball, Hollywood moguls will not be far behind in putting big money into a lavish Tinsel town presentation involving pickleball.

Pickleball Princess is a low budget production.  There will be no special effects or big-name stars. What it will have is some timely wisdom involving the game and the people who have fallen in love with it. And it will be a tool that will attract players to the sport after seeing how such an activity can enrich the life of its participants. It definitely is not Hollywood in nature, but does closely resemble the old Hallmark movies.

There are some high-profile people included in the cast of the movie. Lee Martin, the owner of the Pavilion of Pickleball in Knoxville, Tennessee will be holding down a fairly major role. He is a reigning national Senior Olympics 4.0 doubles champ. 

Rommie Maxey has won gold as the US Open. 
And Laura Fenton Kovanda has won five gold medals at the US Open.

However, the action pickleball actions takes place between intermediate level and beginning players. People who have never played the sport before and those who have played but misunderstand the rules will get a lesson as they hopefully get entertained. Experienced pickleball players will hopefully get some laughs as they stroll down memory lane in reminiscing of their own learning of the quirks of the game they love.

A pithy statement from the movie talks about the division in our great country right now and mentions that the generation gap has become a chasm. When the protagonist suggest that it is time to build a bridge between the young and the old, the love interest asks, “Made out of pickleball paddles?”  His answer indicates that the paddles alone will not be strong enough to bear the weight, but combined with love that feat just might be accomplished. We all know that pickleball is great exercise, it’s a wonderful way to make new friends, and it is a game that can be enjoyed by any skill and athletic level. Perhaps the concept that it could be a healing agent to a hurting population will be new to many.

This content was originally published here.