We Give You A LIttle MORE About Earl Ball!!

THE STORY OF 1000 POINTS

Go here to read a fine article: https://theshuffler.net/2017/11/21/earl-makes-the-1000-point-earl-celebrates-others-compliment/

Earl Speaks: I’m sure no one starts out playing shuffleboard with any thought of scoring 1000 points or winning a hundred tournaments any more than Babe Ruth started out to hit 700 home runs, let alone 60 in a season; it just happens!

Here’s the bare outline of how I did it with many, many side stories for a later time!  In 1999 around the Labor Day time frame I was in Hendersonville North Carolina to play the Eastern National Singles.  I took 2nd but beat some great players in doing it.  Among others were Dave Minnich and Skip McCoy before Mickey Henson beat me for the Championship; leading to Tournament Director Glen Peltier advising me to try the Pro circuit in Florida that winter.  I did and as they say, the rest is history.  I lined up Don Darwin, a great Zephyrhills Player, for the 1st Tournament in Pt Charlotte, we didn’t place.  I had Ken Offenther for the 2nd Tournament in St Pete and Ken worked his fanny off and dragged me to a 3rd place finish in Consolation, I had placed in only my 2nd tournament.  The 4th Tournament was in City Island which is Daytona.  My Partner was Stan Williamson and we took 2nd place making me an instant Pro; we only lost because I made a terrible mistake late in the 3rd game.  Stan and I went on to win the 1st National Championship of the new Millennium in January.  I was living the whole experience so I didn’t realize I was doing anything special but when I won the Tournament of Champions, giving me 42 points for the season, I qualified for the “Masters” as a rookie.  I’ve qualified every year since and am the only one ever to do so.  Stan became my partner for most tournaments and in January 2002 I earned my 100th point with Stan.  Point number 200, and qualification for the “Hall of Fame”, came with Mel Erb in 2004 at Clearwater.  Number 300 was with Joan Cook at Winter Haven in a Mixed Doubles Championship in November 2006.  I made number 400 with Henry Strong in Leesburg during 2008; Henry and I were playing several tournaments together by that time.  500 came with Stan in 2010 at St Cloud and 600 was with Judy Ross in Clearwater in October 2011.   Number 700 came at home in Betmar with Henry Strong during the 2012 season.  800 was also with Henry, once again in Betmar during the 2014 season.  Henry was also with me for #900 at Leesburg in February 2016.  The general census of opinion is that I will make #1000 this season (I need 13 more points) if I stay out of the cemetery this summer and in all likelihood Henry will be my Partner since we play them all together, except the possibility exists that I will make it in one of the early season Mixed Tournaments.

That’s how a 1000 point career happens!

JUST ONE OF EARL’S THOUSANDS OF STORIES

1000 points the Morning After

It’s not yet 6:30 and I can’t help but reflect back on the tournament and how fortunate or outright lucky I am to have this goal completed.  My partner, Ruthie Brown and I each got a lucky break to win our match on Monday evening against Jerry Miller and Ruth Stewart.  We won the 1st game when I got a 22 and 10 off to get back into a game in which they led 37-26.  The 2nd game was a clean game and they won.  In the 3rd game they lead 40-28 and Ruthie got a 22 and 10 off to flip the game and we won earning a chance to play the ¼’s.

On Tuesday morning we played Doug and Pat Stockton in the ¼’s.  I played Doug, the last time I played Pat she beat me up something awful.  The Shuffleboard gods were with us as everything we did worked and by then they had used up their luck on the 1st day and we won.  If you don’t know Doug and Pat you are losing out, they are wonderful people!  Yes they were pulling for me but are also highly competitive and Ruthie and I had to earn our way past them.  By now the crowd is beginning to grow and the journey isn’t over; I have two points but need to win another match to earn the 3rd point.  We will play Marion Lohbush and Gus Bondi.  Marion and I started in the game together and as partners; we won the State Amateur Tournament in Hawthorn two decades ago.  Gus can hardly stand up but is shooting the eyes out of the shuffleboard disc’s.  In the 1st game we threaten to run away and hide getting to 47 in short order and don’t you know we didn’t score another point!  In the 2nd game we are about even.  We have 59 and they have 54.  I’m at the head and get two disc’s partly hidden on Gus but he makes a great shot taking both of mine off and hiding a seven, I miss the hammer.  The score is now 59-61 and Ruthie needs to win the game on her own and she does.  Marion put out a St Pete hide and it was a good one but Ruthie didn’t hesitate, she ran the alley for a good seven.  Marion removed the cover and Ruthie had to stop and think, she still needed 10 to win.  She decided to cover again hoping for a chance to shoot a 10 with her hammer.  Marion removed the cover and Ruthie deliberated on her next move.  She decided to put one on the other side of the board.  I am sure she meant to put in an eight but wound up in the seven.  Marion shot it for the kitchen but rolled off a little leaving our seven on but her’s stayed in the high 7 giving them 68 with two hammers coming depending on what Ruthie would do next.  She decided to leave their good block and go for the win.  She took a deep breath and shot another perfect seven for the win and to salvage the day to that point.  The third game was the same way.  We trailed 62-59 with two hammers coming and I was able to get a seven hidden but Gus used his last block to block off the board leaving a shot at a 10 as the only option.  Of course I went for it and the shuffleboard gods made it stop in the high 10 for victory and it was over; I had the three points and the crowd all headed to my end of the court; everyone happy that I finally ended the journey.

We went on to play the finals which dragged on to the point that our opponents, Don and Pat Hartford, had to leave for another commitment.  They had won the 1st game and were leading in the 2nd game but had to concede and we were Champions.

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1 Response to We Give You A LIttle MORE About Earl Ball!!

  1. debsturat says:

    Great story!!! And what a memory for the details of a game!!

    Like

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