On May 25th, 2017 ISA Past President Michael Zellner returned from shuffleboard retirement to team up with ISA Chairman Jim Allen and the pair participated in the Special Charity Tournament for the “Give Hope Foundation” at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club. The “Give Hope Foundation” was established as a non-profit corporation in early 2005. As a volunteer-operated non-profit organization, they provide support to children and families in Central Florida who are battling childhood cancer and have a unique combination of medical, emotional and financial needs.
Michael and Jim, under their chosen team name of “If I had a Hammer” managed to skillfully knock out the 16 competitors in their division and then advanced to take on the winners of the other 16 competitor division. Cheering from the crowds when the opponents placed Michael and Jim in the kitchen just provided the duo with newfound energy and a little sweating. Michael and Jim both confessed that being in the kitchen countless numbers of times in international shuffleboard competitions attributed to their calmness and remaining focused. Lagging 11 points behind in the final round and without the hammer Jim Allen managed to hide a 7 and placed his last disk in the opposite 8. As we’ve been told by Earl Ball and the other big names in this sport, time and time again, its not over till the last shot is taken even though it may look a little grim at times. Jim’s opponent nervously prepared Michael at the opposite end passed his hands over the court to bless his partners scoring disks and the shot was taken. Travelling what seemed to be in slow motion the disk, rather than hit head-on, just clipped Jim’s 8 sliding it over to rest alongside Jim’s good 7 and the opponents disk slid off the board. Those 14 points ended the game and team, “If I had a Hammer” went undefeated and earned the 1st place prize.
The victors were presented a certificate to enjoy dinner along with their wives at the famous “Birch and Vine Restaurant” in St. Petersburg, Florida. Both Michael and Jim wish to thank the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, each of the Event Sponsors, the Birch and Vine Restaurant owners and each and every competitor. After all I’m sure our efforts this evening will indeed bring some Ray of Hope to young cancer victims.
Michael R. Zellner.