We Tell You Just A Little About Joan Cook



The FSA (Florida Shuffleboard Assn.) Circuit begins early in October and ends late in March.  There are normally two State Wide Tournament each week somewhere in the State of FL.  The State Tournaments begin on Monday and may run until Wednesday.  Accordingly; those players competing in the Circuit will choose one of the two events.  This decision may be based on distance; desirability of the courts at the location; or the expected opposition at the location.   Points are awarded on the basis of your finish in the tournament; 5 is the maximum and that is for a first place in the Main Event. 

Joan is a keen competitor; has played in 13 FL State Masters, winning 3, as well as winning 8 National Championships.  She has also been the point leader at year end on several occasions. 

Joan is only the second women ever to reach such a lofty perch and the other retired over 30 years ago. She is only the second player ever to earn a “Green Jacket”; the other was a man and only four men have reached the mile stone in over 87 years of Florida Shuffleboard Association history.

Joan Cook made Pro. in 1992.  She was inducted into the FSA Hall of Fame in 2003.   

Joan Cook set a modern day record of 87 points in one year, establishing a new record.  Known as the best board clearer in the game, she has rounded out her game by adding a devastating board and kitchen game to her repertoire in the last year and continues to improve. Joan is a dedicated Shuffleboard player as evidenced by stick-to-activity. She’s plays nearly every day of the year.   Her late husband, Dick was her biggest supporter, once having designed a costume for her to appear on the TV show “Let’s make a Deal” where she was not only picked to play but went for the “big door” and won a set of wheels, two motorcycles. Dick freely gave up his love of golf; he was an outstanding golfer with four holes in one during his career.  (above taken from article by Earl Ball)

Joan deserves this significant achievement; she devoted her life to the cause!! As a younger woman she traveled the State, playing ever tournament, bashing blocks like no other ever had. She was fortunate to have savvy veteran, Ruby Bladorn as a partner followed by Joan Wheeler.  Joan and her partners were a powerful force, scoring points hand over fist but then life intervened. Joan had to take most of a couple of years off to take care of her father in his later years and then she had to deal with her own health problems. When it was time to come back she no longer could bash the blocks; she didn’t let that stop her. She went to work playing every day, hours at a time in the exhausting heat; she had to learn to “play the board”. She returned to her lofty perch at the top of the game, but this time as the savvy veteran herself. She played with good friend, Ellen Davis and led several fine players to their goal of the “Hall of Fame”; then life struck again. The love of her life, husband Dick was diagnosed with cancer; she left the game for the most part for several more years. The spark gone, she never really returned with the dedication she has always displayed. But she was too close to the ultimate goal to quit. Her two good friends Diana Morrison and Arlene Guerrini stuck with her and now she has reached the pinnacle, 1000 points.  (above taken from article by Earl Ball) 

Joan and her many shuffleboard friends will celebrate this once in a lifetime achievement at her home club of Betmar.  Many of Joan’s shuffleboard partners will be present for this joyous occasion.  Her Green Jacket will be presented at this time.     

Stan McCormack.  2014 11 26. 

By Steve Lee

ZEPHYRHILLS — Joan Cook’s favorite color last weekend was green. The Betmar Acres resident is just the second woman in the 100-year history of the Florida Shuffleboard Association to receive a coveted green jacket as a 1,000-point scorer in tournament play.

“It feels fantastic, the thrill of a lifetime,” she said during a recent ceremony at the clubhouse adjacent to the shuffleboard courts. “I will wear it for many years to come.”

Dorothy Wagasky, who authored a book on shuffleboard, was hardly surprised that Cook ascension up the shuffleboard rankings.

“I saw it coming, because she was so dedicated to the sport,” said Wagasky, who after defeating Cook in a tourney in Lakeland years ago told her to go back to Zephyrhills and mix up her game by playing with the men.

Cook, 73, joins St. Petersburg’s Mae Hall in select company. Hall set her record-setting mark more than 30 years ago. Aside from the two women, four men have scored 1,000 points. One of those men was Zephyrhills’ Glen Peltier, who earned his green jacket in 2006.

Cook did not take up the sport until she and her late husband Richard, who owned a restaurant in Ontario, retired to Florida. Fueled by her competitive nature, she joined the Betmar Shuffleboard Christmas Club in 1995. She proved to be a quick study and soon found success pushing discs with her cue.

Cook, whose 1,000th point came in a November tourney in DeLand, moved up from amateur status to the professional ranks in 1992 and has won eight national, three international and three Florida State Masters championships.

Earl Ball, a shuffleboard champion who is within 200 points of the 1,000 mark, often partnered with Cook in mixed doubles, winning countless tourneys in-state and out-of-state. He labeled Cook “a savvy veteran” and when she became too emotionally distraught to read her speech, Ball read it for her.

Art Carlen, Ball’s mentor, said Cook “was the one who taught me some of the shots I take today.”

Numerous people in the crowded clubhouse stood up and lauded Cook or shared memories of their playing days with her.

Henry Strong, labeled “the world’s best player” by Ball, marveled at Cook’s unorthodox delivery.

“I said, ‘Joan, how do you even hit anything,’” he recalled. “She said, ‘How do you think I got all these points.’”

Added tournament director Glen Monroe, “Joan has always been a perfect lady. Congratulations, well-earned.”

Others, who simply observed Cook play, were complimentary as well.

“I think the presence of all the people here in your honor is a real tribute,” said Stan McCormack, who pens a shuffleboard blog.

A trying time in her career came with the 2009 passing of her husband — they were married for 45 years — with friends dragging back the five-time Hall-of-Famer, which comes each time a player tallies 200 points.

“Certainly we appreciate everyone who went out of their way to make sure she did it,” Ball said. “Joan, we’re so proud of you.”

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