BATTLE CREEK — A number of Kalamazoo area seniors are “shuffling” off to Battle Creek two to three times a week to compete in their favorite sport — shuffleboard.
Stan’s Note: Coy Bradford and I competed in the CD Amateur “Masters” in 2001!!! Here is part of an article from 2001!! Vern Curtis, 1st; Coy Bradford, 8th; Bruce Pulsifer, 5th; Charles Rasche, 2nd. Back row, l-r: Harry [Buster] Cribbs, Alt.; Alf Primeau,4th; Stan McCormack, 6th; Hubert Vaneerd, 3rd; Bill McMillan, 7th.”
Liking that it is low-impact and suitable for all ages and abilities, many of them choose it to stay active, but also find they are meeting new people at the same time.
“I’ve been playing for two years now, I got hooked,” said Ruby Flickinger, who, along with her brother, Robert Dunn, both of Kalamazoo, are members of the Battle Creek Shuffleboard Club. “We play at Bailey Park in Battle Creek two to three times a week, because there are no shuffleboard courts in Kalamazoo.”
Most often played on outside courts or decks — and on indoor courts or specially-designed tables, shuffleboard is a game of strategy that dates back at least almost 500 years ago. It requires two single opponents, or doubles partners.
Players face off across a rectangular court onto which triangular scoring zones have been affixed at either end. Using long cues, players attempt to “shove” weighted disks, or pucks, into the scoring zones to earn points and strategically push their opponents disks out of play, or into negative scoring areas.
The round ends when each side has played four disks. A game can consist of many rounds, with a winner scoring a total of 50 points for a short game and 100 for a long game.
Flickinger and her brother, as well as many of the seniors involved in the sport through the Battle Creek Shuffleboard Club, travel to Florida and the southern states for the winter months.
“There are courts everywhere in Florida. We play five to seven days a week down there,” said Dunn. “It’s good for your brain, and your bones.”
‘A hidden gem’
Locally, over 50 competitors traveled from across the state to participate in an Open Tournament in the Cereal City in mid-August. Players drew for a partner at the start of the competition and played in at least two games. Tournaments are held throughout Michigan from May through September. All skill levels can be found at the tournaments, from amateurs to state champions.
“The community and fellowship is great,” said Flickinger. “It’s also great exercise that even people with osteoarthritis can do.”
Coy and Hazel Bradford, of Richland, agree.
“It’s a good physical activity and can be played by all ages and all abilities,” said Hazel. “It’s too bad they don’t have courts in Kalamazoo — there is a really big shuffle-boarding community. You can travel to tournaments and meet new people, it’s a lot of fun.”
Though it is often considered a senior sport, shuffleboard can bridge many generations, and the Battle Creek Club enjoys welcoming new players of all ages and levels of play.
“We are always taking new members,” said Jerry Deren, of Battle Creek, who is club president. “We would like to have more people come and try it out. We would give lessons.” The club has a $5 annual fee, and will provide cues if they are needed.
Missy McCullough experienced the club’s welcoming spirit first-hand when her father-in-law began playing. “This really is a hidden gem,” she said. “Everyone here is so gracious, they want to help the new people succeed, they are not intimidating and they have fun.”
While the local players are hoping that Kalamazoo will someday have courts, they say they will continue “shuffling” in Battle Creek for now and sharing their love of the game.
“I know there are people in Kalamazoo that would play, they just don’t have courts,” Flickinger said. “Once you start, you just get hooked.”
BIG THANK YOU TO JERRY DEREN FOR SENDING THIS ALONG!!!!!
To learn more,
join Battle Creek, Mich., club
Find out more about shuffleboarding, the Battle Creek Shuffleboard Club or any of the 14 Michigan clubs at www.msa-shuffleboard.com.