Cerabino: One of Florida’s favorite games confronts our Puritan past! That Game is Shuffleboard!!

frankThis FL News Article follows this article:  https://theshuffler.net/2016/09/15/we-know-shuffleboard-can-become-intense-but-lets-keep-it-civil/

By Frank Cerabino – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer. Pic on left.

I’ve been reading Ludlow’s Code, which was an authoritative source of conduct in the American colonies during the mid-17th Century.

I’ll explain in a moment why this is relevant to modern life here in Florida.  

But first, for a little historical perspective, Roger Ludlow was an Oxford-trained lawyer who left England because the Anglican Church wasn’t judgy enough for him.

Ludlow found it much easier being a staunch Puritan in Connecticut, where he was commissioned by the courts in 1646 to established laws for the state.

The product of that four-year task was formally known as the Code of 1650, but commonly called Ludlow’s Code. The Connecticut State Library has preserved the code and made its text available online.

I perused Ludlow’s Code because it was one of the first documents to highlight the evils of the game of shuffleboard.

And we have a fresh case of shuffleboard crime here in Florida that might validate Ludlow’s view on the sport.

Herbert Hayden, an 81-year-old shuffleboard player from St. Petersburg, got arrested this week for turning an argument on the court during a tournament into a physical confrontation. It ended when Hayden bashed another player in the face with his cue stick, according to police.

Talk about a hammer shot.

I can imagine Hayden in the lockup, getting quizzical looks from the younger men around him.

“What are you in for, pops?” one might ask.

“Shuffleboard violence,” Hayden might answer.

If Ludlow were alive today, this would certainly be an I-t0ld-you-so moment for him. For even just playing the game itself was a criminal offense to him.

In Ludlow’s Code, playing shuffleboard is listed in the alphabetical index of crimes somewhere between “man-stealing” and “stubbornness.”

In his day, the game was played indoors in pubs. Players slid large coins on a long table.

“Upon complaint of great disorder, by the use of the game called shuffle board, in houses of common entertainment, whereby much precious time is spent unfruitfully, and much waste of wine and beer occasioned, is therefore, ordered and enacted by the authority of this Court, that no person shall henceforth use the same game.”

The code set a fine of 5 shillings for anybody caught playing shuffleboard and 20 shillings for pub owners who allowed the game to be played in their businesses.

The table game remains, but another version of the game has been superficially modified to be played on an outside 52-foot deck, and with pronged cues and discs instead of hand-launched coins.

I doubt Ludlow would approve.

I’m pretty sure he would still argue that “much precious time is spent unfruitfully” playing today’s game.

Sure, the average geriatric player is more apt to be marinating in diuretics and statins, rather than beer and wine.

But to a Puritan, it would still seem like a lot of time being spent unfruitfully.

Which is, come to think of it, the whole point of retiring in Florida.

Stan Speaks: Most of you will remember the MANY articles in support of Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Shuffleboard in FL.  In conducting the research, I became aware that Shuffleboard had been banned, made illegal, in PA for no doubt, similar reasons advanced by Ludlow.    

Article sent along by Bob Weber with thanks.  Stan McCormack.  2016 09 16.   

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2 Responses to Cerabino: One of Florida’s favorite games confronts our Puritan past! That Game is Shuffleboard!!

  1. stanistheman says:

    I should have incorporated into the article, above, that an abbreviated version ALSO appeared in the TORONTO newspaper > The Sun. Imagine if ALL THE GREAT NEWS OF SHUFFLEBOARD TRAVELLED THIS FAR, THIS QUICKLY!!

    Like

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