The St. Louis Shuffleboard Club began a little over three years ago as a small group of players that met while competing at the annual St. Louis Senior Olympics. Spearheaded by club president Glen VanMatre, a half dozen players met informally at a local park that has 3 courts.
When my wife Rose and I moved back to St. Louis from Avon Park, Florida, we really missed playing shuffleboard and all of the great friends we made. It was while playing against Mike Bruce and his brother Bob at the St. Louis Senior Olympics, that we found out about the group that played at Des Peres Park and began to join them for their weekly games.
The following winter Glen made arrangements with the Salvation Army Gateway Citadel in south St. Louis to use their gym for indoor play and our group purchased two indoor courts from Allen Shuffleboard. Later a 3rd court was purchased. When pickle ball was added at the SAGC we moved our play into a large hall in the building.
Our club now has 20 active members, plus a sprinkling of folks that show up a few times a year to join us. We’ve reached a point where we’re suffering from “growing pangs.” With only 3 outdoor courts available they are frequently times when extra players have to sit out a game and be score keepers. We do have a temporary remedy indoors. The hall we play in has room for one more court and we just purchased another indoor court from Allen Shuffleboard.
There is a drawback to playing indoors, and that is the time it takes to roll out the courts, tape the ends to the floor, set out chairs, and spread the beads. After we play we sweep the beads into a pile and scoop them up and use a strainer one of our members made so we can reuse them. We have to sweep the floor as well since the hall is used for other things throughout the week. The final step is to take up the chairs and roll up the courts. Rolling up the courts takes time. Being seniors, we only have a handful of members who are still able to bend over or get down on their knees and then lift the courts to put it them on a cart we made for this purpose.
We are all thankful that we have some place to play during the bad weather months. The Salvation Army Gateway Citadel in located in South St. Louis. I live in North St. Louis so for me and my wife, it’s a thirty minute ride each way. When we play in the park it’s only a 15 minute ride. I guess I got spoiled while I was living in Avon Park. The courts were just 200 yards away from our bed and breakfast, and we played there year round. We didn’t mind driving to Sebring on Friday nights to play pin shuffle there and make more new friends.
Before our tournament season draws to a close we’ll be competing in Perryville, Missouri at the Southeast Missouri games in August. It’s a fun and challenging contest – the courts are super fast. One of things we look forward to playing in Perryville is going to the Park-et Cafe for lunch. They have fantastic home made pies. Perryville covers two of my life’s top priorities – playing shuffleboard and eating pie. Pic of two men shooting is Club President Glen VanMatre and Mike Bruce.