Written by Randy Coleman
This is my Story, this is my Pickleball life:
My name is Randy Coleman. I am now a Selkirk Senior Elite Pro and this is my story.
I am the youngest of 5 kids who grew up on a trampoline and with a ball in my hand before I could walk. I soon started walking at 7 months, in Lubbock, Texas. I grew up playing most every sport or anything with a ball, but gravitated to competitive team tennis from a young age and into college. I’ve had a ping pong table since I could walk. And, coincidently, my brother played competitive badminton in college, and I used to practice with him all the time. I grew up playing a beach paddle sport called Smashball or Kadima with 2 wooden paddles and a small weighted ping pong size ball.
Teaching, training and performing have always been a natural part of my life. I have worn different competitive sports hats ,and even performed as a Dolphin and Sea Lion trainer at Ocean World in Ft. Lauderdale in the early 90’s, where I even made it into an article of the Smithsonian Magazine. I am also an ex Police Officer from Palm Beach County in Florida, where I was nominated Officer of the Year, and elected as the Departments first Beach Patrol Officer and spent the rest of my career patrolling the beaches, certified waverunner operator, police bicycle instructor, member of the dive team, and taught the department Wellness program.
In 2015, while living in Florida, I was back in Lubbock visiting, and I have a friend that when I am in town, we are always golfing, throwing softball, playing basketball, or getting our Smashball paddles and going to the park to hit. The object of the game is just to keep the ball going when hitting back and forth, without it hitting the ground. I kept saying, there has got to be a better paddle we could use. I Googled, Smashball paddles, and these funny looking “Pickleball” paddles came up. Now I’m curious and I begin looking into “Pickleball paddles, Lubbock, TX”. I went to only buy the paddles, but then saw the balls and decided, why not. We fell in love with our old game and our new paddles, but then decided to try this Pickleball game we saw online - but with no place to play, we went and hit on a tennis court.
In Lubbock, TX, the volleyball courts in the parks are on concrete. We also found ourselves making up a game hitting over the volleyball net. I then went back to Florida and looked up places to play Pickleball. I found converted courts in Ocala and then the “Pearly gates” opened when I found the dedicated courts in Daytona Beach Shores. I was quickly addicted, traveling almost every weekend 1 ½ hours from Gainesville to play on these great courts with some really good players. I found that Pickleball is not only an addicting and uniquely different social and competitive sport, but also gives many people a variety of different reasons to participate. It gave me, a lifelong but ageing athlete, a new purpose and ability to compete. It gave me a fresh new avenue to also do what I do naturally, which is teach.
Because my kids are grown and I’m single, it gave me a new mindset to eliminate the stress of a tied down 9-5 job and take the peaceful road less traveled and make Pickleball my life. I decided I would not worry about gaining monetary wealth, but instead enjoy the peace and happiness through teaching, sharing, and playing this life-changing sport. I left a great paying job November 2017 with benefits, decided to minimize my life, sold 75% of my belongings, and only mostly kept what I could take on the road. I signed with Selkirk as a Pro Playing Athlete, Coach and distributor in January 2018.
I played my first sanctioned tournament as a self-rated 4.5 player in Houston, Texas in February of 2017. The Pickleball train began to roll fast in tournament play, and I soon found I could compete at a pretty high level in a sport again. My “addiction” of Pickleball took over and not only was I given a new purpose, this new sport I found was a perfect fit for my personality.
Living life on the road now is always a new adventure. My life in 2018, with Selkirk giving a small signing contract to an unknown and my love of Pickleball soon morphed into a daily clothing dressing of nothing but my Selkirk t-shirts, my paddles and hitting the road to experience and share Pickleball all over the USA. My personality almost every time I stopped my truck naturally wanted to show others what I found and spread the gospel of Pickleball. One friend soon told me, you are a true Pickleball Evangelist. Taking Selfies was fun, and was fun for those whose paths I had crossed. I soon made every effort to reach deep on and off the major highways to find Pickleball opportunities. I would be on I-10 in Arizona and realize how close I was to the border of Mexico, so yes, I turned off the interstate and went straight to a border town, straight to the Police Department to play with any officer willing to spend a few minutes learning about Pickleball and of course, taking a video or Selfie. I stop in every community I can, find the local Pickleball clubs and stop in play as a Pro with the locals. Some never to get to experience top players, and it’s always a warm feeling to see all the smiles everywhere I go, even with the waitresses or local businesses that take a little time to play. More times than not, I make hiking a part of my Pickleball adventures with a few of my close avid Pickleball family hikers during a tournament week. I am still a huge mountain biker, kayaker, and I love the open winding road on my motorcycle.
My first Nationals in November of 2017 was a success! I achieved a Bronze in senior age, and a Silver in senior age. I became friends with Daniel Moore, and the relationship grew in the spring of 2018 when he asked me if I would go to China for a Pickleball Expo to demonstrate and teach. Most people don’t know the story, but the big USAPA/China experience where Jack and Justin went to China started with Daniel. The Chinese Pickleball Association wanted the USA Pros to come to China. I was one, and after the other backed out, I recommended Jack Thomas to Daniel, after Jack and I became friends at an Oklahoma City tournament. After I spoke with Jack, he said yes, Justin was soon approved by China, and then the event and our visit soon turned into a giant USAPA/China Pickleball signing agreement. A “How it Really Happened”, Dateline story. Soon came me making friends with the Hong Kong Pickleball Association, and them taking me to Hong Kong after the Expo, and more friendships were formed. Daniel asked me to go to Japan for Pickleball a few months later, where I returned to Hong Kong again establishing more Pickleball on the way and then helping spread Pickleball throughout the streets of Asia. People would hold up their Selkirk paddles, their Selkirk banners, and took me to their communities to teach. I was taken back when so many wanted me to sign their paddles. The Japanese people are the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Their generosity and courteous nature is inspiring.
Making friends became natural. People in every town wanted to host my nightly stays, and wanted to make sure we took a “Randy Selfie”. I have been on the road in 2018 except for a few random weeks regrouping in Lubbock, Texas, and I feel grateful and fortunate I have not had to spend one dime on a hotel room because of so many wonderful people. Yes, I have however spent some nights in the back seat of my truck. Pickleball people and families are very different by being so openly giving and generous, opening their homes and hosting me every where the road leads me. So many people, here in the USA, China, Hong Kong and Japan that I extend a thank you for all you have done for me. This is another example of what defines Pickleball families all over the world.
I achieved an IPTPA Level II Pickleball Certification, and I am currently a Certified PPR Pro Pickleball Instructor. I love showing all what I have learned myself and from some of the top players in the world. I have a deeper passion for training and building the junior programs, and my ultimate passion is to help. Needless to say, Pickleball is like no other sport, and has given many people many different stories, many different reasons, many different ages, a reason, a purpose, a way of life, an activity where before one didn’t exist, and high level competition. Whatever the personal reason, Pickleball has filled a void for many and has become a common denominator and language. It has created a family unity on a global scale. Because of Pickleball alone, our World is a little smaller. Selkirk is who I am, Pickleball is my family. Follow your inspiration, Pickleball is mine.
Mr. Selkirk Selfie
Notes of achievement:
- Selkirk Elite Senior Pro
- USAPA at Large National Ambassador
- PPR Certified Pro Pickleball Instructor
- IPTPA Level II Certified Pickleball Instructor
- Level Up Pro guest Instructor
- Pickleballtrips.com Pro Instructor
- -Continue to assist with Pickleball relations in Asia and Internationally
Notes of tournament achievement:
February 2017 - The Real Dill, Houston, Tx
Gold Medal - Mixed Doubles 4.5 skill, Gold Medal - Men's Doubles 4.5 skill,
Gold Medal - Men's Doubles 50+
(I was contacted by the USAPA and moved to a 5.0 in April 2017)
April 2017 - Texas Senior Games, San Antonio, Tx
Gold Medal - Mixed Doubles Age 50-54
September 2017 - USAPA Great Plains Regional, Colorado Springs, Co
Gold Medal - (technically) Men's Singles 5.0, 50+
Gold Medal - Mixed Doubles 5.0, 50+
November 2017 - USAPA National Championships (my first)
Silver Medal - Men's Singles Age/Skill 5.0, 50+
Bronze Medal - Men's Doubles Age/Skill 5.0, 50+
January 2018 - State Games of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Ok
Silver Medal - Men's Singles 5.0, 50+
Gold Medal - Men's Doubles 5.0, 50+
March 2018 - South Florida Slam, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Bronze Medal - Men's Pro Singles Open 19+
Silver Medal - Men's Pro Doubles Open 19+
August 2018 - Tournament of Champions, Brigham City, Utah
Silver Medal - Men's Pro Doubles 50+
6th place - Men's Pro Singles 50+
October 2018 - Huntsman Senior Games, St. George, Utah
Gold Medal - Men's Pro Doubles
Gold Medal - Men's Age Doubles 50+
Gold Medal - Men's Singles 50-54
October 2018 - USAPA National Championships, Indian Wells, CA
Silver Medal - Mixed Skill/Age Doubles 50+ 5.0