THE MISUNDERSTOOD RULES OF SHUFFLEBOARD by State TD Glenn Monroe
As a tournament director, I am sometimes called upon to enforce a misunderstood or non-existent rule. The problem often arises when a player has read or remembered only a portion of a rule. Some of those are listed here.
One example occurs when a player picks up debris that has fallen on the court and the opponent immediately calls out, “Tournament Director!”. After making my way to the court, I am informed that the offending player has “touched the court”. After learning the facts, I must inform the player that touching the court is a violation only if it was done in the act of shooting a disc. Know the whole rule (C.5).
A common misconception is that a player cannot ask his or her doubles partner to check a close disc. Rule F.1.d says, “If there is no referee (and there almost never is anymore) the shooter may ask the partner to check the close disc.” So, if your partner sits like a lump and does not check a close disc, don’t sit and steam or complain to everyone around. Just ask them to check the disc.
It is generally understood that a player may ask the partner for information on the location of a disc. What is incorrect is that the belief that the answer must be in inches. That rule simply does not exist. The response may be in inches, centimeters, or fractions of a disc. What would not be allowed is an answer that would constitute coaching such as, “You have enough room”, “There is not enough room”, or “I wouldn’t try it”, etc.
Regarding the previous, I have heard some players say that there is no rule against lying. The implication being that it is okay to give your partner the wrong answer to the question, “How much room do I have?”. While that is true to a degree (you will not be penalized for a misjudgment), it is my opinion that an answer that is obviously wrong constitutes coaching (C.12).
One day, while playing a tournament, my partner’s phone rang and, without thinking, he answered. His opponent immediately declared that we should be assessed a 10-point penalty. I told him that it was only a 5-point penalty, but he insisted that it was 5-points if the phone only rang but 10-points if it was answered. We were strangers at the time, and I could not convince him that I knew that rule until it was confirmed by the Tournament Director. (C.26)
I am sometimes asked to impose a penalty against a player who has a disc in the shooting area that is touching a line. My first question is always, has the supposed offender shot another disc while the disc in question was touching the line? If the answer is no, there has been no violation. The last sentence of Rule C.4 states, “The penalty is not applied to a player until he/she has played a shot”.
This is, perhaps, my least favorite rule as it is now most often a “got you!” violation. A disc not being played, but is touching a line in the shooting area, has no bearing on the outcome of a game unless the penalty is called and enforced. That is not to say that the rule is unnecessary. In the days before the rule, players were known to hide their hammer disc off the court. An unsuspecting opponent might then shoot a fat 8, believing that they had the hammer. The sly one would then retrieve the hidden hammer disc with disastrous results for the unfortunate opponent. So far, I have not been able to garner enough support to alter the rule to satisfy both concerns.
Sometimes rules are clear, but their violation leaves the viewers astounded. I was directing a red-line tournament a few years back. It was in the either the semi’s or finals and I had the opportunity to sit and watch the play. Picking what I thought would be a good, close match, I saw that one of the players was struggling. I realized that his temper had reached the breaking point when his opponent shot a disc and he immediately shot his disc, picking off the other disc as it reached midcourt (C.13).