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The Golden Bachelor Courts Pickleball

Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket Frank Cerabino 01-22-2024

We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket have wandered far beyond our comfort zone to watch reality TV. Specifically, The Golden Bachelor on ABC. All in the name of pickleball research.

The new season of this popular TV franchise is based on the ridiculous premise that if you release one desirable guy into a den of 20 eager women, soulmates will find each other and march off to a lifetime of marriage and commitment by the end of the broadcast season.

Golden Bachelor ABC

The twist this season is that instead of using young or middle-age adults, the “golden” bachelor is a 72-year-old widower, and the women seeking his company are in their 60s and 70s.

I guess somebody decided it was about time to show Medicare-aged people making out. We had no idea this was in such high demand.

And as for a name, it’s pretty easy to see that The Golden Bachelor sounded way better than The Enlarged Prostate Bachelor or any other age-related reference that might apply.

The casting directors have found a peachy leading man in Gerry Turner, a tall, blue-eyed, flat-stomached septuagenarian from Indiana who still has his teeth and wears the good kind of hearing aids.

Let’s face it, he’s a unicorn.

There’s nothing sexier than an older guy who still wants to hear what other people are saying. If for nothing else, to avoid conversations like this:


“I said, your zipper …”


“Your zipper on your pants is … ‘

“What about my sister?”

And the women seem ready to do whatever it takes to make this mild-mannered catch their next life partner.

The show is basically excuses the women come up with to be one-on-one with Gerry, and to turn those pecks on the cheek to some lips-on-lips action punctuated by premature declarations of love.

We here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket wouldn’t have dipped into this world of manufactured romance if we hadn’t learned that the Golden Bachelor is an avid pickleball player.

Pickleball, it turns out, is a big part of Gerry’s life. (I told you he was a catch.) 

It took until episode four for this to play out. After meeting the women on the pickleball courts, Gerry explains the kind of woman he is looking for: 

“Pickleball is so much fun. It’s part of my life,” he tells the women. “And whoever of us becomes a couple, that will be part of my life into the future and I hope you’re OK with that,”

An old guy who can hear and play pickleball! Kismet awaits, ladies.

The women coo and nod, acting as if they’ve all got impressive pickleball DUPR ratings. But it turns out that the only woman with any experience playing pickleball is Ellen Goltzer, a 70-year-old retired educator from Delray Beach, Florida.

ABC's Golden Bachelor Pickleball Tournament Participants

📸 @GoldenBachABC

What are the odds that you round up 20 fit retirement-age women of leisure, and only one of them plays pickleball? Improbable.

Ellen’s biggest competition on the court was Sandra Mason, a 75-year-old retired executive assistant from Georgia with two artificial knees, but better than average hand-eye coordination.

Seems like a flaw in the show. Gerry’s pickleball companion dreams are about to be dashed by women who are much better at making sexual double-entendres than making drop shots.

The show put together a heavily-edited tournament among the women, which appeared to be on par with the level of play seen on medication TV commercials. Of course, Ellen’s team won. 

There’s a coda to this. It turns out, pickleball really isn’t all that important to Gerry. Because during the next episode (spoiler alert), he bids goodbye to a tearful Ellen, eliminating her (the only experienced pickleball player) from the rest of the competition.

In the end, Ellen’s dinking got her nowhere. Just another life lesson from the game we love. 

Here’s the clip of the episode:


Read past editions of Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket, including:

Frank Cerabino is a long-time columnist for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, a pickleball addict like the rest of us, and a newly published author. Check out Frank’s newly released book, I Dink, Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with My Pickleball Addiction (available on Amazon and a great read (or gift!) for any pickleball player), for pickleball tips and laughs!

I Dink, Therefore I Am | Frank Cerabino


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