Pickleball is taking over the country in a wild west-like fashion, growing from 5 million to 36 million players in one year. The sport is raking in millions in investments from the likes of Lebron James, and devotion from the Katie Couric’s of the world. THE POSTER BOYS OF PICKLEBALL (working title) sets itself amidst this cultural moment. But rather than following the money, big names, or history, we find ourselves in the charming world of players at an unassuming neighborhood park.
In 2010, well before pickleball’s popularity surge, Marshall Pura, our protagonist, established the first court in Los Angeles, and has been teaching the game ever since. One of his students is John Sabado, a sixty year old with Parkinsons. Marshall is a retired therapist, a gregarious, self-proclaimed “hoot,” and a devoted husband to his beloved wife. John is a retired Hollywood set designer, a practicing musician, mellow and contemplative.
The character-driven short documentary follows the men as they navigate the worries and wonders of their everyday life on and off the court. It delves into the magic of what these men find in playing pickleball, and why that matters. Through this exploration, the film seeks to dignify aging, as Marshall finds purpose in teaching others, balance with his family responsibilities, and joy in his twilight years. And it seeks to dignify disability, as John finds agency, a transformative healing process, and grace in community.
Against the backdrop of pandemic reverberations, people of all ages are facing isolation and feelings of aimlessness, more than ever before. This film is a spark, a reminder that each of us can find meaning, joy, and even change in various chapters of our lives through something as seemingly simple as pickleball.