A Little Bit Of Florida Comes To St. Louis
Today I thought I was back in Avon Park, Florida. It was sunny and in the 70’s, and this morning I introduced the St. Louis Shuffleboard Club to “Pin Shuffle,” a game I learned while living in Avon Park, Florida.
Back in 2009 after my wife Mary Rose and I lost our jobs we decided to try something different. We found a bed and breakfast for sale in Avon Park, visited, and ending up buying it and moving to the “City of Charm.”
A short time after we took over the Lake Verona Lodge Bed and Breakfast we noticed a senior recreation center just 200 yards up the street from us on Main Street, filled with shuffleboard courts. Neither of us had played much shuffleboard but with a club walking distance from our house we decided to check it out.
The people were friendly and welcomed us with open arms. The club was populated with a lot of pro’s and all of them were happy to share their extensive knowledge of the game with two newbies. We learned about drift, setting up blocks, and strategy.
We met many wonderful people and formed new friendships. Dick Davis and I became fishing buddies. Our B&B overlooked Lake Verona where the annual July 4th Avon Park fireworks display took place. Each year my wife and I invited everyone from the shuffleboard club to join us for an ice cream social and to watch the fireworks from our front porch.
For nearly three years we enjoyed playing shuffleboard year round. We learned from some of the best, including Dick Davis, Ralph Day, and Hall of Famer John Bushee among dozens of other great players.
Sadly, the economy was no friend to us, and we realized too late that the B&B couldn’t bring in enough money to sustain us. Mary Rose, a former programmer analyst, hoped that she could return to that profession with the help of colleagues in St. Louis. Regrettably, we sold the house and moved back to St. Louis.
It was while competing in shuffleboard at the St. Louis Senior Olympics that we met Mike and Bob Bruce who told us about a group of shuffle board players that got together at Des Peres Park, in Des Peres, Missouri. That group eventually became the St. Louis Shuffleboard Club.
From time to time I share with my St. Louis friends things I learned in Florida. I am thankful for the time I had with so many wonderful and skilled shuffleboard players. They really taught me a lot.
Today, I taught my friends how to play Pin Shuffle, a game we played in Avon Park. If you haven’t played this game before, you place a bowling pin at the back of the 10 area, where it intersects with the 8’s. You score just like always, but if you knock over the bowling pin, your disk goes into the kitchen, right in the center and it’s minus 10 points. Then you reset the bowling pin. If your disk ends up touching the bowling pin, the point doesn’t count.
It was really fun to watch everyone trying to avoid knocking down the pin, and it made me homesick for Avon Park.
Maybe next time I’ll teach my Midwest friends how to play “Hoss Collar,” another game I learned in Avon Park.