Bruce and I came to Florida 4 years ago, Bruce started shuffling immediately but our women’s park league was full. We went home and discovered the local park in Plymouth Indiana had a Shuffleboard Club and welcomed new players. I was delighted that we could shuffle 3 days a week. I also discovered that the club members were really good players. Some of them were pros when they wintered in Florida and they still had game! I got beat badly-a lot. I also had the opportunity to learn the game. I loved the game-I loved finding something Bruce and I could do together and I could compete with him! You see, Bruce has always been an athlete-me? Never!! THIS was a sport we could have some fun and I just might be able to win once in a while. His encouragement and advice was and is invaluable.
Harold Cunningham (Hall of Fame) played in Plymouth the first summer we joined. He told us over and over, “When you get back to Florida you need to join the Rec Center-you need to play in tourneys.” Yeah right-I thought. I will never be confident enough and good enough to play competitively. We returned to Florida –no room again on the league. I missed playing. January we joined Sebring Rec Center-even though my anxiety level was sky high. What I found on the courts was great friends, encouraging words and skilled players. I entered my first tournament in February and drew Keith Morton. I was in awe of his play, his focus, his fierceness and I played awful the first game. I was so upset with myself-I cried! Keith was so kind and told me Consolation round wasn’t all bad. We ended up placing that day and I was hooked on tournament play.
Returning to Plymouth for the summer we added to our club Florida shuffle friends Gene & Maureen Tomelson, and Ray & Odee Miller. They drive over an hour to play. Game level was stepped up and I learned about strategy. Actually I was “schooled” often by their strategy!!! This year we are redoing our courts-thanks to my doubles partner Walt Pickerell and new member Phil Martin.
The next year I played often; accumulated points, and began playing in pain. I needed a right shoulder replacement. June 2016 I had surgery. I watched my friends play 3 times a week-and I continued to learn. I started to play again and entered a Michigan Tourney in Battle Creek Michigan. 4-day tourney Singles & Doubles –Amateur& Pro. I played all divisions and placed in the Main all 4 days! In fact-7 Plymouth players entered and we all placed. I thought I was back in my game.
I played for a couple weeks and then I was sick. Very sick- with no diagnosis from my Doctors. I slept 16-20 hrs a day. Vision was blurry, no memory, body aches, voice change, headaches. I couldn’t play. The last week in November I went to watch my friends shuffle at the Rec Center. I could barely sit up and stay awake. I was convinced I would not be shuffling this year. I was finally diagnosed with non functioning thyroid at the Cleveland Clinic in southern Florida. A week after starting medication I was feeling better.
Shuffleboard is JOY to me. My caring friends and my returning health is a blessing. I played well this year and made my State Am points. Credit goes to my partners and all the players I shuffle with here and in Plymouth. Playing in the Reiney was an honor. Placing 2nd was totally unexpected. I have many things to look forward to. Bruce and I qualified for the Heartland State games next December. Improving my game and working for my Pro points. I am thankful.
Cindy Shidler, 2017 03 22.