Pickleball Magazine 2-6 - Page 22

PLAYER PROFILE JAMIE BUNCH ELLIOTT FALLING HEAD OVER HEELS FOR PICKLEBALL W hen fellow pickleballers say they meet “the most interesting people” playing pickleball, they’re not kidding. Take Jamie Bunch Elliott as a prime example. Elliott has been playing pickleball since the late 1980s, when she and her husband discovered it during a high school reunion in Washington state. An avid racquetball player, Elliott loved the sport, but was introduced to it in its nascent stage, when it was more of a novelty. “One of my husband’s friends had a pickleball court at his home— complete with wooden paddles—and we played it there for the first time and really enjoyed it,” she said. Elliott enjoyed it so much that in 1995, when she was contracted by 20 Angel Fire, NM, officials to help with the building of a new community center in the town she now called home, she purchased pickleball equipment as part of the recreation package. “They had a net: big, yellow, plastic bases that you could fill with sand or water; and nets that were attached to PVC pipes that fit into the bases,” Elliott said of the gear you could purchase back then. However, despite her best efforts to push the sport, pickleball just couldn’t get traction in Angel Fire, a resort town of around 1,000 people known primarily for its golfing, skiing and 8,500-foot base elevation. “I tried to get it going in 1996-97, but it really didn’t go anywhere. We didn’t get any interest. It wasn’t until TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 888.308.3720 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM about six years ago that we really got it going in Angel Fire.” But, if life taught Elliott anything, it was that determination will win in the end. It’s a lesson she’d first learned when her career as a flight attendant ended prematurely due to an airline bankruptcy. “I’d been with Braniff Airlines for almost 20 years when they filed bankruptcy in 1982. When they dissolved, I signed on with an agency doing commercials and some modeling,” Elliott said. “I was on one film, and this guy on the crew said there was a stunt group, and they brought me in under their wings. I became the first home-based Texas stuntwoman, got my SAG card in 1985, and worked on a lot of very good films that were shot in Texas.”