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Not that this is news to you – but there is so much to love about pickleball! Of all the things that get mentioned when asked “What do you love about pickleball?” I’m pretty certain the most common response is: the people. And some pickleball people love some of the other pickleball people in an above average way – in a way so strongly that they actually get married 😊 In fact, some players even marry other players ON the pickleball court!
Fran and Barney Myer are the first documented couple to meet through pickleball and get married. This is quite a story! They initially met in 1995 in Seattle when Barney was looking for a mixed doubles partner and the tournament director called Fran to see if she would play with this man she didn’t know. Fran hesitantly said yes. They played, and never saw each other again until 1997 when the exact same situation occurred. A year or so passes and they started running into each other at various pickleball places. Eventually they started carpooling to pickleball, then began dating. Upon deciding to marry they thought it would be fun to tie the knot on 2-20-02. They looked at the calendar and thought, oops – we’re at the Arizona Senior Olympics on that date. And then they realized how appropriate it would be to marry during a tournament since that is how they met.
As luck would have it, the mixed doubles event fell on that day (and of course they were signed up as a team.) They approached the tournament director about when the draw may end that day to see if they had time to get married in the town about an hour away. He said they should have the wedding on court and, after Fran and Barney hesitantly agreed, the TD arranged for the ceremony to occur on court 2 at 2:00 pm. Pretty much right after that, the mixed finals were played on that same court by none other than Fran and Barney – and they played in their wedding attire! (They got the silver, but it did go three games!) Barney is sadly no longer with us, but Fran still plays in tournaments!
Another fun pickleball meeting and marriage story is that of Shonda and Rob Davidson. These two met during rec play at a tournament in April 2015 when Shonda traveled from Montana to Oregon to play in the Spring Fling. Over the next year they would see each other at various tournaments and eventually even partnered in a couple of them. They started dating in June 2016 when Rob confessed his attraction. Another year goes by and the were engaged then got married in September 2017. Perfect pickleball wedding – everything on the court including breakfast, lunch, and 12 courts of play from 9 am to 2 pm followed by time to shower before the dinner, ceremony, and dancing. All of this took place with players ranging from beginners to national champions in attendance. Rob still competes and teaches pickleball, while Shonda plays recreationally and works at her pickleball software company.
Here’s some notable married couples who you might know that met through pickleball: Corrine Carr & Adam Stone, Regina Franco & Johnny Goldberg, and Yana Gretchkina & Ben Newell.
These next couples, although not generally mixed doubles partners, met through pickleball and are currently dating (as of this writing): Michelle Esquivel & Rob Cassidy, Anna Bright & James Ignatowich, Lauren Stratman & Julian Arnold, and Vivienne David & DJ Young.
These storied mixed doubles partners didn’t meet because of pickleball, but they are partners in life: Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg and Lucy Kovalova & Matt Wright. And then we have the player/coach duo who recently became engaged: Catherine Parenteau & Athena Trouillet (congratulations!).