In Seattle during the 31st ISA World Championship I took a photo of Earl with a relatively new Shuffler, a Shuffler who had just ended the event with a Perfect Record. I belive that got Earl to thinking just how he got started, and perhaps wondering just how this young man’s shuffling career would evolve. Pic to the right:
Earl speaks: “Most players know that I had a very successful working career but who would ever believe I would top that with a career in shuffleboard of all things! I ran into the game of shuffleboard when visiting my in laws in Florida in the early ’90’s; my father in law was President of the Betmar Club. Every time I would visit he would drag me to the courts and beat the living stuffins out of me; I didn’t want to play but I wanted to be a good son in law so I went; I wanted to play golf. In 1995 I bought a place in Betmar so I was eligible to join the Club and Dad made sure I did that. Early in “96” I visited and Dad wanted me to come to the club and play in a tournament. I said no but felt guilty about 8:45 and went up to the club, Dad was directing the tournament, I said I’d play if anyone wanted me to play with them. Dad hassled up a partner and I played. That guy never asked me again, we lost four games so fast it was pitiful, I was terrible! Later that spring I visited again and Dad said we were playing a tournament, I replied I had already done that and didn’t want to do it again. He persisted and said we would be playing together. Well I didn’t want to disappoint him so I played. My job was to clear the board and score my hammer. Man did I clear the board, no matter where the disk was but I didn’t score many hammers. However Dad was an excellent player and carried us to 2nd in consolation. I was bitten! I made a good enough impression that Pros asked me to play tournaments with them as their amateur partner. I became so excited about the game that I started to schedule my vacation around the shuffleboard tournament schedule. I got the luckiest break of my life in 1997 when I had the opportunity to retire at age 53. Dad took me to all of the summer tournaments that year to be sure I would know how to get to the tournaments that fall. He didn’t play but he watched me ever tournament and told me on every ride home “clear the board and score your hammer”; we all know how that turned out. That’s how it all started and if Stan wants too, I’ll tell you some more.” Earl Ball.
Stan’s Note: Thank You Earl; and of course we would like to hear more!! 2012 10 26. Remember, to expand pic, click on it ONCE.