BEATING THE ODDS!!
Bill McMillan’s Story; As told by Earl Ball!!
Bill McMillan chuckles as Earl announces that “Bill’s doctor has told him on a number of occasions that he won’t be with us much longer!!” In reality, the doctor has stopped telling him that he won’t be with us much longer and has instead begun telling him: “I’m amazed you’re still with us.”
The sobering diagnosis came about eleven years ago. Bill, then managing a hotel in upstate New York with wife Vivienne, was prompted to visit his doctor after a particularly restless night. The doctor told Bill there was good news and bad news. Bill recalls it this way:
I said: “Well shoot Doc; give me the good news.”
Doc replies: “You’ve got pneumonia.”
Bill responds: “Skip the bad news, Doc.”!!
The doctor didn’t oblige. Bill had congestive heart failure or in more clinical terms, cardiomyopathy. His heart was pumping at about 35 percent of its normal rate. Now, it’s down to 15 percent. But that wasn’t the reason Bill found himself gasping in a different doctor’s office five years ago. Another examination had revealed that Bill had multiple myeloma – bone marrow cancer. Chemotherapy was ruled out because of his heart condition.
Turns out a cue stick has proven infinitely more effective than chemo. Bill never has played better. I think [shuffleboard] is what’s kept him going for the last five years says wife Vivienne who celebrates her 41st wedding anniversary with Bill next month. Bill, who spent a couple of years as a first baseman in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, concurs. I’m usually ice cold when I’m shuffling because of the circulation; it just can’t pump, as Bill explains. So shuffleboard is a natural marriage, (Also see page 2 below)
if you will, because we can “push em down” ~~ sit for a few minutes while the other end pushes back; heart builds up and I’m getting good exercise.
Bill spent the initial stages of his retirement on the golf course only to be converted by the diverse elements of the game those go unrecognized by those who gravitate toward mainstream sports. You know; you can play offense and defense, said Bill who retired from the hotel management business but also spent 24 years working for a major propane gas corporation. `
In speaking about shuffleboard Bill explains it this way: “There’s strategy, there’s a little bit of everything in the game. I had played sports all my life, so I could see a little bit of all the sports that I was comfortable with in the game of shuffleboard. So then I started playing. Then I wanted to move to the next level. That’s where Earl came in, adopting Bill as his de facto protégé. Each day, the two would convene at Betmar’s sprawling club – featuring 24 courts surrounded by dozens of wooden benches and cooled by 48 ceiling fans – for their 1 o’clock invitational.
Bill and Earl teamed to compete at Lakeside, OH in the US Nationals of 2004 and did so most successfully ~~ meeting Bergeron and Farris in the opening round ~~ and beating them!!! While they did not win the Tournament they did finish in a respectable 2nd place.
The Shuffler is pleased to add a new and significant dimension to this story. (We apologize for not having a more precise date, but at that time we did not take the same care in recording the date of our articles.)
The New Dimension: Vivienne (McMillan) has now taken up the sport and is first and foremost experiencing great enjoyment!! I spoke with her while in FL in March of 2007 during one of her matches and I can report that she will experience more than “great enjoyment”; she will also frequently experience the joy of winning!!
Bill and Vivienne McMillan are a great couple for whom Shuffleboard has become their lives. We salute them both.
Original Story by Earl Ball;
Adjustments by Stan on 2007 05 14.
Vivian and Bill McMillan of Florida make this statement: “Youngsters will come and play ~~ you just have to ask and give them some support.”
We do have examples of successful participation of youth in Shuffleboard!! Each of us must do what we can to involve others in our sport or quite simply it will die. Youth can be anyone younger than us, for example our children or our grand children. Germany has led the way in youth participation and we will talk about that in this series of articles.
We are going to post pix of youth involved in the sport in our album and you will be able to access the album from our Home Page. We will add pix as we run additional stories.
Vivian and Bill McMillan of Florida make this statement: “Youngsters will come and play ~~ you just have to ask and give them some support.” Pinellas Park Senior Center has given that support by having youngster age 10 to 12 (a couple of 8 year olds) the chance to learn and play the game of Shuffleboard. Vivian continues:”We have two groups; one comes on Tuesday and one on Thursday for an hour and a half. Both groups have a mixture of boys and girls. They will be coming all summer if the volunteers Ron Bastien, Bettie Merkel, Bill and Vivienne McMillan can keep up with them.”
The pure joy of teaching the game of shuffleboard to these youngsters is such a rewarding experience. One youngster said: “My grandfather plays and now I will be able to play a game with him.” While telling us this, his face just lit up. We don’t know at this point who is enjoying it more the youngsters or us!!!! JJJ
As I understand the programme that Bill, Vivian and their group had operating, the groups came on a daily basis for a defined period. It was announced that should the parents of the students wish to come along, that too was encouraged. What a great way to introduce the sport!!
This is an adaptation of an article originally submitted by Bill and Vivienne McMillan. This item, INCREASING PARTICIPATION, call it PROMOTION, is probably the very most important item you will discuss with fellow shufflers the next time you get together!! May I suggest MORE IMPORTANT than the next tournament you are planning for!!
SCHOOL WILL SOON BE OUT! YOUTH WILL SOON BE LOOKING FOR SUMMER ACTIVITY!! Make your plans now!
Stan of THE SHUFFLER 2008 05 22.
A PLEASANT SURPRISE AWAITS YOU IN CLEARWATER!!
As told by Vivienne McMillan: Last week Bill and I went up to Clearwater to practice. After a few games, we went into the hall for a rest and decided to go look at the International Hall of Fame.* As we walked into the HOF, we looked at each other and said: Wow what a difference!!
It has been redone and really is a site to see. A lot of work has gone into refurbishing the International Hall of Fame and you really must pay a visit.
Pam Hill is the new curator and she has done a great job. Sam Allen and Earl Ball have also put a lot of time into the project. Bob Weber has worked and will continue with pictures and videos.
Shirley Goodwin and Marx Kristix also commented on what a great improvement to the Hall of Fame. When you come to Clearwater please take the time to visit the International Hall of Fame and see what a great job these people have done to make this a site to see.
Submitted by Vivienne McMillan 2009 08 19.
*The International Hall of Fame is located in the same building as the Clearwater Shuffleboard Club.