DIETER HUSSMANN SAID THIS in 2008
DIETER WRITES: I would like to add a few personal comments: Let me start by forestalling the conclusion – it’s all up to you!
You might call it megalomania for a rookie to appoint himself as judge on a game that exists for about a hundred years as it is, but then again, considering the potential of Shuffleboard, I feel it is my duty to share my views about the future of Shuffleboard with you.
Living outside North America seems to be an advantage in this case. It lets me argue without any prejudice, without being blocked by the daily business in the Shuffleboard circuit, without the danger of not to see the trees for the forest. I believe every one of us is driven by his wish to secure the future of Shuffleboard and to let it have the reputation it deserves.
As we agree on the objective to achieve, we should find out about the starting point and the best way to reach our target.
Let’s face the bad news: Shuffleboard in North America probably suffers from the worst image you can think of in terms of sports or leisure activities. The number of Shufflers is decreasing in a frightening and increasing degree; same applies to the Shuffleboard facilities. As there are virtually no young Shufflers, the probability of a change to this situation is close to zero, therefore leading into a vicious circle. Shuffleboard is clearly represented inadequate in public awareness and potential sponsors’ business life.
Before you stop reading further because this is all too frustrating, there is some good news as well: you already (still) have ten thousands of Shufflers and still have facilities in beautiful located spots (you have your Wimbledon in St. Petersburg since the 1920s). The majority of people who have never heard about Shuffleboard and who start playing for the first time, love the game of Shuffleboard. Not being influenced by the public image, they view it as an ideal family leisure activity (which it truly is). My experience is based on the development of Shuffleboard in Germany, where we started to play only two years ago. With only small efforts of promotion the number of Shufflers is constantly rising, so is the number of courts. The German Shuffleboard Association consists of members of all ages, from 10 to 75. We encourage especially the young people to give it a try and our latest joiners, all of them teenagers in their well-known difficult ages, prove our methods to be correct. The participation of young players will lead to a positive image with arguments for the attraction of sponsors and with good prospects for Shuffleboard to survive. As a first result we have members in more and more states of Germany and we are in contact with potential sponsors, willing to have a closer look at this new and interesting thing called Shuffleboard.
Now, don’t let me be misunderstood. I am not saying Germany is the saviour of Shuffleboard, but it’s one of a good example of what is possible, another one is the Friday Night Shuffle in St. Pete. Wilbur (Estes) and Terry (Rainwater) both have mentioned a lot of measures pointing into the right direction, most mentionable promotion, young people, time and money. Isolated, all of these measures must fail. Does advertising in a newspaper for itself promise new Shufflers? Would you change your mind about the car you dislike the most, just because an advertisement tells you to? Moreover, you won’t find any high school kids without investing time and money in the right manner.
The only way out is to revive Shuffleboard from inside, it is a bundle of measures, taken by a professional individual, embedded and under surveillance of a Shuffleboard organization. It is obvious that this is a full-time job (and even more) and as such it must be compensated.
Where does the money come from? As long as we don’t find any major sponsors, I really like Terry’s idea of an annual membership fee. The money raised is to be used to find the key, the “Holy Grail” to it all: access to and acceptance from young people.
As I tried to point out earlier, it is most difficult to change an existing image of something unpopular. That’s why we need to get in touch with children at the age of 10 or 11. Most of them should be free of prejudices and willing to look for something interesting to play. Teach them to play by offering them an opportunity to play when and where they want, under their preferred circumstances (music, food + drinks). Find formats of play they like, with action and cheering. If that means some changes for the game of Shuffleboard – fine. Mankind has survived because and not although it has adopted evolution. Find accessories that help Shuffleboard look “cool” (Shirts, Cues), build an attractive and maintained website, let them get in touch with the best players and build their idols. If, for whatever reasons, they cannot come to you, make sure you come to them.
Having done that first step everything else will develop. You will notice the development of minor leagues, the rising interest of the kids’ parents, rising memberships, more money involved, sponsors and all the other achievements mentioned by Wilbur and Terry.
It is good to see many of you caring about the future of Shuffleboard, but talking and writing will not be sufficient. Shuffleboard needs your action. On your next FSA meeting, I would love to hear about a discussion and a motion to drive this topic further ahead and then look around for a professional expert who is enthusiastic enough to really start this rocket. As I said: it’s all up to you!
Dieter Hussmann, President GSA 2008 01 23
DEAR SHUFFLEBOARD FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD!
I would like to say thank you for all your congrats and kind words for winning the German Nationals 2009. (See Article Below)
And yes, I am very proud of it and more of that, I am proud, that it is a woman who won. So especially for the girls: Everything is possible!
Shuffleboard is a great sport and gives the opportunity to be a member of a wonderful community with lovable people.
I am very thankful that I had (and I hope I will still have) the chance to compete with Shufflers from around the world, not only in International Tournaments, but also in Club Tournaments or just for fun like during the famous Friday Night Shuffle in St. Pete.
I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of you a Very Happy Christmas Season and a Healthy and Happy New Year.
Hope to see you in Germany 2010.
Birgitt Hussmann 2009-12-12
INTERNATIONAL SHUFFLERS, IN FACT, ALL SHUFFLERS
Shufflers are moved in a particular way when they hear of a fellow shuffler winning a significant shuffleboard event!!
This is especially true when it is an International Event > witness Jim Bailey winning the “World Championship”; it is equally moving, perhaps more so to remember and reflect upon the win by Sachiyo Takada who placed 1st in that same World Singles.
We now are informed that another woman, this time in Germany, has placed 1st in their National Shuffleboard Championship. That woman is Birgitt Hussmann who topped the ladder while competing against a tough field, a field of Men and Women, Germany’s best!! Germany does not separate the Men from the Women in shuffleboard.
The Men have been the traditional winners in the 4 years Germany has held such an event, but 2009 turned out to be Birgitt’s year!! All Shufflers salute her on the occasion of this significant achievement!!!
The Shuffler celebrates the win not because it was a woman who won >> after all, Shuffleboard is a game of skill, a game of strategy, and finally a game of hand-eye co-ordination!!! Brawn and physical size are not determining factors!! The male species learned a long time ago that women are at least our equal in these categories!!!
Stan of The Shuffler. 2009-12-03.
GERMANY BRINGS NOT ONLY SKILL ~~ THEY BRING A SENSE OF FAMILY!!
How many times have we discussed among ourselves the need to get younger people involved in our sport? Germany set an example for us in two distinct ways. First; the competitors themselves were younger, similar in this regard to the Brazilians. Not only that, the German contingent brought family with them and it was not long before they were participating on the Courts. John Brown offered assistance to the younger folk and later as seen in the photos, the youth took the opportunity to benefit from a “photo op”, or even two!! It was evident that Dieter, Birgitt, Sebastian and Kerstin, and yes, their entire family including Omah, all had a great time while at Lakeside.
As we reported, every German Member of the UN Team celebrated their initial win in International Competition ~~ and went on from there!! Germany was officially admitted as a Member Nation of the ISA and given their enthusiasm and success at the 25th Meet, we can expect good things for the 26th Meet to be held in Ontario, Canada in August of 2007.
First German Championships to be played November 18/19th After Germany’s first and successful international appearance in Lakeside, Ohio the board of the GSA has decided to hold the German Championships on November 18/19th in Langenselbold..
Further details will be announced shortly
AN ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME TO ALL GERMAN SHUFFLERS FROM THE SHUFFLER. Stan and Alf: 2006 09 13.