When Ollie Otter met Robby Raccoon, Pauly Penguin and Wally Wallaby, they became fast friends and learned that pickleball is for everyone, no matter your age, size or where you’re from.
Author Larry Blundred was inspired by the acceptance he received from the Cincinnati pickleball community. His third book, How Pickleball Saved Ollie Otter, was released in hardcover and paperback editions by Winters Publishing in December 2020.
“The sport challenged my athletic skills and other players became a source of support, in the game as well as in life,” Blundred said. “Pickleball was just what I needed physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.”
Blundred lost his wife, Donna Blundred, 67, in August.
“I wrote two books with Donna while she battled a brain tumor diagnosis,” Blundred said. “This book is for her.”
In 2019, Donna’s third brain tumor was discovered. While she had beaten poor prognoses in the past, this time she would not. Blundred began to play pickleball to cope with his stress and grief. And then, his grandson Ollie was born. In fact, all the book’s critters—who each find love and acceptance on the pickleball court—are inspired by people in Blundred’s life.
According to the USA Pickleball, the number of places to play pickleball has more than doubled since 2010. There are now nearly 8,000 locations on the USAPA’s Places to Play map. The sport is played on badminton-size courts, typically with “doubles” (two people on each side of the net). The first team to get to 11 points with a two-point lead, wins.
The Blundreds’ first book, “Staying Resilient When Life Throws You More Than A Curveball,” published in August 2017. “Rise Above: Survivor, or Thriver?” published in October 2018. The couple also formed a Thriver Ministries, LLC, to remind people that adversity can be the catalyst for resiliency.
Larry and Donna Blundred raised three children on the west side of Cincinnati. Larry now resides in Cleves and attends Crossroads Church. He is a retired financial advisor and worked in marketing at Skyline Chili and JTM Food Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master’s in marketing from the University of Illinois-Champaign.
Children's book author from Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a heart to encourage children young and old through his books.