Wilbur Estes, The Guy Who Wrote The Book

It should be obvious, that to win a “75-Point Game” it is necessary to SCORE 75 POINTS. This requirement adds the challenge of selecting from many deceptive strategies, and applied psychology. There are many defined “plays” available in a “75-Point Game”.

It should be obvious that KITCHENS ARE NOT SCORES.

It should be obvious that the high value of a Kitchen in a “12-Frame Game” places emphasis on Kitchens, at the expense of Scoring toward “75-Points”.  The goals are diametrically opposite, and the strategy of “Fun Games (and “Summer Tournaments”) consists almost wholly of trying to Kitchen. Where is the “Fun”?

If the Districts, and the FSA gravitate more toward “12-Frame Games” interest in tournaments will decline.     

I too, heard that tournament participation is increasing ~  and I am pleased. Apparently, it depends on who you talk to, and what tournament is referenced. However, tournament participation has a long way to go to equal that of the “70s” and “80’s”.

I do not recall the date, but I played the National Doubles (now “The Southern National Doubles”) when the “Men’s Entry” was well over a hundred teams (108, or 118, as faulty memory tells me). This year the “Men’s Entry” was 58 teams.

As Jim Allen writes, “Back then the clubs were the only places to play, -now we have thousands of courts in Pinellas County alone in each Mobile Home Park, condominiums, even many homes.  The leagues and clubs that promote teaching are growing”.

The current “Preview” shows 80 Clubs, 3311 Members, and 638 Courts in the “West Coast District”.

Evidently, many Mobile Home Parks, condominiums, and home owners, do not know that “The Florida Shuffleboard Association” exists.

Regardless, of the proliferation of courts, and Recreational Players, I know “first-hand” that membership in the so-called “City Clubs” (Lakeland, Winter Haven, Deland) is dwindling.

Tournament Shuffleboard is the heart and soul of organized Florida shuffleboard ~   “The FSA”.

The entire structure of FSA activity is based upon tournaments. To “Move up” in category, a player must accumulate “Points” in a sanctioned tournament.  To achieve “The Roll of Champions”, a “Pro” must accumulate “Points”, and must be in the “Top Eight”, to play in “The Masters”. Consideration for induction into “The Hall Of Fame” demands an accumulation of 200 “Points”.

Relatively few shufflers are (or want to be) Tournament Shufflers.

The reason, in part, is that many Club Shufflers are not aware of the opportunity to compete at a high level.

Unless we can increase the membership of the “City Clubs” we will lose the large complexes. Where are Daytona’s “Seabreeze”, “Peabody”, and “City Island” courts now? Few Lakeland residents know that Lakeland has (what could be) one of the finest facilities in Florida.  Once highly visible “Downtown”, on Orange Street, it is now hidden in Lake Parker Park, where it is practically invisible. No passers-by ~ no exposure.

It may soon be that twelve courts will be enough. The entry at the Florida State Singles, January 14, was small.

The “Ladies Non-Walking Singles” had eight (yes, EIGHT) entries. The “Ladies Walking Singles” had the same; hardly enough to deserve the name “Tournament”; and hardly enough to discourage the plan to “share” the Lake Worth facility with a “Migrant Labor Center” (we all know the eventual result of this “sharing”).

Perhaps, the question is not, “Can shuffleboard survive?”. Perhaps, it is, “CAN THE FSA SURVIVE?”

The FSA will not survive if an “Everything is fine” attitude continues to prevail.

Shuffleboard (especially the FSA) must “do something” to gain public awareness..

We must devise a means to convince the public that “they need us”. They do not care that “we need them”.

Shuffleboard’s image, as a game for “doddering old people” makes me (a doddering old person) ineligible to appear in public, as a spokesman for shuffleboard.

Does shuffleboard need a publicist?  Probably. Can the FSA afford to pay for this service?  Probably. Funds, spent for this purpose, would better serve to promote the FSA, than when used to increase “Prize Money”.

Arrange professional distribution of “The Preview”; a company specializing in this, or perhaps Amazon, or eBay. Sell it for what it is worth. Print more copies. Let the public know there is a “Preview”. Market it aggressively.

Currently, “The Preview” reaches only dedicated shufflers who know about shuffleboard. The public must be informed.

Perhaps sponsors (and non-sponsors) that regularly place “Display Ads” in local newspapers can be induced to add a line to the bottom of their ad. “We proudly support Florida Shuffleboard” or “Joe Doakes Ford supports Lakeland Shuffleboard”. Perhaps the New FSA Logo could be used to help create an identity.

Perhaps, some skilled writer can be found in each area, to write attention-getting “press releases” pertaining to what is happening in the Local Shuffleboard.

The Lakeland Club (and perhaps other clubs) publishes a booklet, List of officers, a list of members (addresses and phone numbers) Tournament Schedules, Constitution and By-Laws, and a list of past Presidents, and gives one to each member. This, like “The Preview”, reaches only shufflers.  While valuable to members, it does nothing to promote shuffleboard.

I have talked brochures, only to be told, “Everyone knows about us”. Some columnist once wrote, “Wake up, and smell the coffee”.

Everyone does not know about us.

Shufflers have become accustomed to “Something for nothing”.  Those days are gone.  Let’s get realistic.

Let’s get aggressive. Word of mouth is not enough. If the FSA is to survive, the non-shuffling public needs to know about shuffleboard.

WILBUR ESTES, The Guy Who Wrote the Book >> and Still Cares a Great Deal about the Sport of Shuffleboard. 2008 02 02.  

Posted by Stan McCormack > and Re-posted on 2020 06 08.

This entry was posted in GENERAL. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Earl Ball says:

    Wilbur saw this coming way back in 2008. Guess we didn’t or couldn’t do anything about it.


  2. john Houghtaling says:

    Wilbur’s words back in ’08 certainly have merit even today!! I’m optimistic that those who love the game, young and old, will prevail and promote the game with enthusiasm and forward thinking to promote the game!!!…


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