Competitive, Challenging and Professional
If you have in mind that shuffleboard is just for laid back retirees you may need to update your ideas. Only in the United States is shuffleboard a game of leisure.
The rest of the world views it as a championship sport with professional players from around the globe competing fiercely for the top prizes. It is a sport that challenges the mind, not the body. The actual physical act of playing the game is easy, gentle. An extremely light touch is required on the stick, or cue. The stick itself weighs practically nothing, and the discs or blocks that it pushes glide down the court with amazing speed and ease. So physically it is a game that anyone can play. From children to carefully moving elders, it requires no real strength so to speak.
But – then we get into the game itself. The strategy, the competition; that is a whole other world! The play is devious, and cutthroat, it is not merely a racking up of points, but rather an aggressive and calculated attack on ones opponent!
With a carefully thought out shot one can knock the competition into “the Kitchen”. The kitchen is that part of the board that subtracts points from your total!
World wide, well over 100,000 people compete in this sport. And often the players come from surprising backgrounds. Such as injured soccer players, no longer able to compete in their chosen sport, now find the challenge they need on the shuffleboard court. In countries around the world shuffleboard is played inside, on carefully constructed and specially finished courts. In warmer climes like Florida, California and Arizona it is an outdoor sport, but many clubs have indoor courts as well. Even roll out courts are played on for those who travel. One of the travelers who is devoted to the sport is Earl Ball. A very young 62, and handsome retired GM executive, Earl was introduced (against his will) to the sport by his father in law. Finding the competition that he adores was a surprise to him and he quickly became a fan, then a serious player, then a professional player. He has won too many tournaments to count and was this year inducted into the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame. This is more than just a ‘point standing’ honor; one must be an enthusiastic supporter of Shuffleboard as well. Earl is. When he retired he planed to play golf, and he does. But shuffleboard holds all the excitement and challenge he needs to stay with the sport. Earl and his gorgeous wife Vivian travel the world to promote shuffleboard, teach shuffleboard and participate in international tournaments. So the next time you see some older folks playing shuffleboard, keep in mind that these people are sharp, competitive, and probably having more fun that you are!