TVPBC takes Gold and Silver in the Tennessee Senior Olympics.

Never underestimate an old person with a paddle.

The Tennessee Senior Olympics proved that adage correct. Our Tellico Village Pickleball Club took both gold and silver in the state championships. Our competitors were Jayne O’Donnell, Johnnie Buckley, Angie Allen, Paul Cash and David Brigham.

Jayne and Johnnie took silver in Ladies Doubles, 65-69 age group. Jayne paired with Paul to win gold in the 65-69 group while Angie and David took gold in the 70-74.

Established in 1981, the Tennessee Senior Olympics holds events in twenty-one sports. Our seniors competed in Chattanooga August 5-7. Paul explained that participants had to win four matches, the best of two out of three games in each round. He and Jayne found themselves in two “very tight/tough matches.” They were “FUN,” he added.

Jayne was reluctant to join Paul, who had asked her to be his partner. Jane explained, “At first I said no because I was nervous about playing in a tournament. He told me to think it over. After much pondering, I thought about how much I could learn from an awesome player like Paul, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take this opportunity to go out of my comfort zone.”

Paul was intent on having Jayne as his partner, “I had played against Jayne once. I had played with Jayne once. I had watched her play maybe twice. I saw an athlete. I saw great hand-eye coordination. AND I saw a woman that  closed to the net VERY quick and NEVER backed down. Those four things are definitely the most important to me in a Mixed Doubles partner.”

Meanwhile, Jayne decided to enter the women’s doubles tournament, as well. “I chose my female partner, Johnnie Buckley, because she and I play well together. She is an awesome player. I knew she would keep me calm, and she likes to play in tournaments.”

The gold medal winners now have the chance to compete in the Nationals, held every two years. Will they compete? Let’s hope so!


















Paul Cash asked me to play in the tournament with him.  At first I said no because I was nervous about playing in a tournament. He told me to think it over.  After much pondering, I thought about how much I could learn from an awesome player like Paul and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take this opportunity to go out of my comfort zone.


Have you played before?


This was my first real tournament, I played in our local Tellico tournament 4&5 years ago.


If so, how did you do? How did you make your choice of partners?


I chose my female partner, Johnnie Buckley, because she and I play well together, she is an awesome player, I knew she would keep me calm, and she likes to play in tournaments.  She and I took the silver medal and Paul and I took the gold medal.

From the web site

The Tennessee Senior Olympics began in 1981 with a mission that has continued for more than 30 years- to promote healthy lifestyles for seniors through fitness, sports, and an active involvement in life. Our programs contribute to the vision of healthy, active, and vital senior adults.

Every year thousands of senior adults compete in sanctioned District Olympics held across the state. The 10 championships are held each spring in greater Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Jackson, Johnson City, Crossville, Columbia, Martin and Athens.  Finalists from these games qualify for the State Finals held each summer. The State Finals winners qualify for the Nationals held every two years.

Since 1981, the Olympics have grown from 300 participants to almost 4,000 seniors competing statewide in District Olympics events.  Our largest state finals attracted almost 2,000 participants for the week-long sports celebration.

East Tennessee District

Chattanooga Convention Center


ALLEN, Angela & BRIGHAM, David /Gold 70-74

BUCKLEY, Johnnie & O’DONNELL, Jayne  ?Silver 65-69 group

Jayne O’Donnell and Paul Cash  ?Gold  65-69 group

First though  —  Jayne played incredible  , especially for her first tournament outside of Tellico Village — she really played tough the entire tournament. The last two matches were very close , very long matches.   Jayne never once got out of her game or show any sign(s) of nerves.


  • Could you give me some background as to the competition, perhaps some history?

This was my first time playing the Tennessee State Senior Olympic Game Championship so I don’t know much about them.  I do know that the level of play was good and that the top 4 places qualify for the National Senior Games next year.

  • How did you come to the decision to enter?

My wife Kaye was asked by a friend of hers from Nashville to play so I looked it up on-line , then called to make sure we were eligible. We now are eligible since we own Tennessee property and live here over 3 months per year.

  • Have you played before?

I have never played Tennessee States – never eligible .  I have played numerous other State Championships that have an “Open” policy for non-residents.  I do play a LOT of tournaments during the year ; average about 18- 20 per year ; from U S  Open to USAPA regional tournaments and  “”local”” Florida tournaments.  In the past I have traveled a lot to play —  from New York to California.  ( I will be cutting back on that though )

  • If so, how did you do?

I do not want to mention my previous medals — this really is about how well Jayne did in her FIRST Tournament outside of Tellico !!

  • How did you make your choice of partners?

GREAT  QUESTION  —  I will answer it by saying the same thing I mentioned to two guys that I was talking with about 2 weeks before the tournament .

After playing we were sitting in the bleachers and the two guys said they heard I had asked Jayne O’Donnell to play Mixed Doubles in the TN Games. They asked why I asked Jayne ; because she does not  play tournaments and there are women here that do , and they said that they meant no disrespect to Jayne but there might be some better , more experienced female players for me to partner with.

I remember telling them , I have  played against Jayne once. I played with Jayne once. I watched her play maybe twice.   I see an athlete . I see great hand-eye coordination.  ( 37 years of coaching taught me that those two are similar but not exactly the same)  AND I saw a woman that  closed to the net VERY quick  and  NEVER backed down . Those four things are definitely the most important to me   in a Mixed Doubles partner. Jayne also has very good Pickleball skills to add to my first 4 thoughts for a partner.

It was simple to me > Jayne.  I thought we would play well together despite very little practice time together. Jayne was great to partner with.  Honestly, Jayne made it ( GOLD medal)  happen. The pressure is almost always on the woman in Mixed Doubles and Jayne handled the pressure , handled the pickleball 100%   —  100% of the tournament !  Especially in the two real tight / tough matches.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Jayne  AND  I thoroughly enjoyed watching her compete and play so WELL !


Tennessee did not require  a district  qualifying tournament  this year

( usually they do )


We had to win four matches / rounds

( best 2 of 3 games  each ) to win GOLD  ( 4 – 0 in matches  ,  8- 0 in games played  )


If you do look up the tournament  matches / who we beat ,  on web-site

Honestly  , my comment  about not  naming who we beat is

“”sportsmanship””  to me  — I prefer not having someone see / hear  me name opponents that I beat  and then tell my opponents  I did that ( in coaching one of my most important rules for my players / athletes was  that we never TALK  about what happened  —  the tennis racket does the talking  — in  this case the  pickleball  paddle “”talks”” )


We had to win four matches , two were very tight / tough matches >  that was FUN