When did my own personal shuffleboard story start? According to club records, my wife Penny and I started shuffling at the Coronado Shuffleboard Club in New Smyrna Beach, (on Florida’s east coast just S. of Daytona), in the Fall of 2004. I was retired but we were in Florida on a four-week “holiday”. We watched people play the game and wanted to give the game a try but wondered if the yearly $20 membership (each!) would be of value. We took a chance! Thanks to expert and meticulous instruction in the etiquette and strategies of the game, we learned to enjoy shuffleboard by playing it well. In spite of also playing tennis, we played shuffleboard almost every day of our stay. That was IT! HOOKED! It all started with a little curiosity and $20!
We then sold our condo to be free of ownership responsibilities, and to feel free to travel to other sunny locations. But to this day, we keep coming back to rent a condo the same area. Why? It’s the people and the SHUFFLEBOARD! January to end of March. Daily Shuffleboard. Club Play, and lately for us, league play. Looking back, we feel fortunate to have been brought into the game in the historic (then 70+ years) Coronado Shuffleboard Club. The courts are in a unique location, right on historic Flagler Avenue, and only a 5-minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean. There are lots of interesting little gift shops and bars in the neighbourhood, and the sea-breeze is usually most welcome. Flagler itself is popular with visitors, but other than during weekends, the general area is not too busy – just fine with us!
In Canada, after discovering shuffleboard in Florida, we found our Pickering senior’s club had weekly indoor shuffleboard on Monday afternoons. This was not the same calibre as in Florida, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Totally low key, and almost deliberately non-competitive play is the norm. Very nice people, but it took me a while to understand why most of them did not want to play the “winning” style I had learned in Florida. For them just getting out and socializing was the most important aspect of the game. I still have to make myself remember not to “teach” or “preach”, (other than by winning, of course).
Our Canadian competitive debut: Penny and I started playing serious shuffleboard in Canada only in 2008. We had not known it was here! Here’s how it happened: I had just discovered THE SHUFFLER http://www.theshuffler.net, and intrigued, found the Canadian Nationals were just about to be played in Midland, Ontario. Knowing Midland to be a pretty town we decided to visit, and just watch the tournament. Then “What The Heck, We Might Have Some Fun!” took over, and we decided to play. A prerequisite was missing – we were not members of a shuffleboard club. Again, we referenced theshuffler.org, and finding the nearest club to Pickering, we contacted Will Capeling, Scugog S.C. president. It worked out like this – As Penny and I were driving north to Midland, and Will and his wife were driving west to Sarnia, we rendezvous’d for a roadside membership registration. Once in Midland, to our amazement, we got a Consolation-second place! – Against fellow club members from Scugog, we had never previously met! Of course, we met a lot of other great people at the tournament, and then came to know all the thoroughly interesting and helpful folks who play shuffleboard at Scugog. Fun? Lots and lots!
Shuffleboard progress? Fun is hard to measure, and I should probably stop there, but as far as tournament results go, I’m still very much the Amateur, with half an FSA point in 2008, and enough luck to pick up another Ontario point and a half this past summer (2009).
Ever the hapless volunteer, I organized a shuffleboard league at our condo in Florida, and got involved with Coronado club executive as VP. Common to many clubs, a current issue is getting more active in promoting shuffleboard to expand club membership. Coronado is also trying to make progress with the City in making the club more attractive by court resurfacing and new lighting. Also in 2008, I fell under some kind of spell and ended up on the board of the Ontario Shuffleboard Association (OSA). This is a great bunch of volunteers working to support Ontario shuffleboard clubs, to organize the OSA-sponsored tournaments and to contribute to activities of the Canadian National Shuffleboard Association. The OSA also publishes The Ontario Shuffler newsletter which is mailed to all OSA members each year. It has been my pleasure to edit and produce this important means of communicating with shufflers in Ontario.
Both Penny and I hope the future holds a lot of shuffleboard fun for us, and that we can continue to meet and play against the many wonderful people involved in this great game. Bill Boyes. (Written in 2010)