It was a day to reward the winners and pay tribute to those who have served the league and sport well.
The Bayshore Shuffleboard League celebrated its 42nd great season with its end-of-season banquet last week at the Crystal Lakes community, featured great food and great fun for those who played this season and will hopefully do so again next season.
Pete Longjohn, president of the league, said it’s more about the friendships that develop between the communities than winning.
From left. Bayshore Shuffleboard League president Pete Longjohn, tournament main event winners Tom and Martha Mason of Tamiami Village, and Ellsworth Heating & Cooling president William Barnes at the league’s end-of-season luncheon at Crystal Lakes Wednesday.
It’s also about the people who play, such as Jack Murphy of Tamiami Village who, at 92, still plays despite having to use a wheelchair. He is able to summon enough strength to stand up and play. “He was so excited to come play for us. He broke his collarbone early in the season, and came from a nursing home to come to the banquet,” Longjohn said.
And Betty Rossi, the grand dame of the league from Lazy Days who finished her 38th year of competition. “I moved in 1978 and started to play then. I don’t play any other leagues. I’m getting to the age where I can’t do all that anymore,” Rossi said.
Among those also honored was Ellsworth Heating & Cooling, which sponsored the league for the 27th straight year. If any league has had a sponsor for that length of time, nobody knew of it. “Over the years, we thought we would be there for a year. As we met the people, it became more of a friendship. It’s more than just a sponsorship,” said William Barnes, president of Ellsworth Heating & Cooling. “We enjoy coming and seeing the people.”
Also honored was Lazy Days, the community that won the league for the 11th straight year, followed by Poinsettia Park, Pioneer Village and Carriage Village.
Rossi denied the rumor that people have to be good shuffleboard players before they’re even allowed into the community.
“We have some very good players I guess. Everyone tries to beat us. They all have good teams, but we have a lot of pros and they play everywhere,” Rossi said. “A lot of them are from Canada, and they come in to buy, and they also like curling, which is similar.”
During last week’s main event at the community center, other teams from other communities got their share of the winners’ pie. Tom and Martha Mason of Tamiami Village won the main event. Ken Taylor and Abe Peters of Poinsettia were second and Joyce Radcliff and Ed O’Neal, also from Tamiami Village, were third.
Tom Mason said it was great to beat 28 other teams for the championship, even if it isn’t the first time he’s been in the winner’s circle.
“It’s supposed to be a fun league and we enjoy it. It’s addictive, shuffleboard,” Mason said. “It’s something we can do in our older years to remain competitive as a sport.”