Earl Ball Asks What Has Happened to Us??


We actually have players that want to cut our summer tournaments down to 4 hours including lunch; can you believe it!  I started playing summer tournaments in 1997 and the format was a Pro/Am draw, 2 out of 3-12 frame games, main and consolation.  We started at 8:00 and finished at about 6:00; I even played a tournament until 10:00 at night.  We traveled from Zephyrhills to as far away as Sebring and St Cloud which is about 90 miles to each and took a little under 2 hours across back roads that weren’t as good as they are today.  We traveled by the car load and if you lost in two matches before lunch you waited until the end if someone in your car placed.  When Mingles/Singles came along in 2000 we thought life really did get better.  We played 8-12 frame games to determine the top 4 game winners and ties.  They played off using one 8 frame game of non-walking singles to determine the winners of the 4 winning positions.  It took no more than three rounds and was complete by 3:30 so the most someone in your car had to wait was the last hour.  What a great one day summer tournament format!   Later we changed to total points scored in the 8 games to determine the winner because some of the players were afraid they wouldn’t be able to win in the playoffs so we were done at 2:30.  Two years ago one of the host clubs went to 6 games because it was a very hot venue which now has an insulated roof and is very nice to play in.  Some talk has been to go back to 8 games at that venue too, but still some want to stay at 6 games and have every other venue also go to 6 games.  If you don’t want to play a competitive tournament you can play each morning in casual play at the Zephyrhills clubs on any day.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned by Glen Peltier who told all of us many times not to make changes to the game because shuffleboard becomes a non-game.  Clearance Wright told me we were going to wind up playing Hoss Collar and calling it a tournament.  I guess they were both right.

The Florida Central District has been the leader in changing the game and we have gone so far as to reduce the game to the point that you can play 3 matches the 1st day and be done by 2:00 and if the finals are no further away than Lakeland, 40 miles, you can play the final 2 matches on the 2nd day and be home by noon; I’ve done it.

How far are we from mailing in our entry and having the winners drawn out of a hat so we don’t have to spend the time traveling to the tournament?

Enough is enough!

Earl 6-5-2016

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5 Responses to Earl Ball Asks What Has Happened to Us??

  1. Pat Batdorff says:

    I agree 100% with you. The wonderful game of Shuffleboard is changing so much that I am afraid one day there will not be tournament play.. What a shame. I could go on and on but sure the shufflers have heard all about what it used to be like.
    Thank you for spending the time in writing the article.


  2. Jim and Marlene Corbeil says:

    I have not been playing shuffleboard as long as most people but in a few short years I have seen many changes. Practice shots cut down,game changed from 75 to frame and a modified doubles. It looks like everyone is heading for a one day tournament or just Mingle/Singles.
    Thanks for bring this to every ones attention.


  3. Terry Rainwater says:

    “What’s Happening” is the majority is moving this game towards a more enjoyable, relaxing, fun sport. Those long tournaments with long waits are not fun and the move to shorter games is coming by majority rule instead of “that’s the way it’s always been” rule. If you want the sport to die, leave it alone. If you want it to grow, let it evolve.


  4. Max Tate says:

    Maybe a bit overstated Earl. Regardless of the format, one must play well at all times to win.


  5. stan bober says:

    I’ve also found that one day tournaments are becoming more popular as many/most shufflers do not like the long waits and 2nd day finishes. About 1/4 of those that need to come back the 2nd day forfeit and take 4th place rather then return the next day for the semi finals. The West Coast District has a couple of one day tournaments scheduled for next season as a pilot program. WCD is determined to get more shufflers out of their home parks and try tournament shuffling. The Mingle-Singles has had many non-tournament players out when no long waiting is involved and they can be home by 3 pm. Pinellas Park has shufflers draw a chip that has all 3 games and court assigned and pretty much fill’s their 16 courts at 10 am every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. You’re home by 1pm on most days. Being a new pro myself, I’ve observed the top A+ players all in favor of regular old style tournament play (unless health is a factor) with the newer/younger players leaning towards faster and shorter tournaments. Maybe we all can meet in the middle by trying pilot programs to see what and what doesn’t work? Shuffleboard is alive and well and we have to appeal to the masses if we want them to become tournament fans, as Glen Peltier would state!


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