Art Healy Speaks: upgraded 2017 03 19
When we came to Florida in the fall of 2013 Dorothy went shuffling a few
times with a couple of her friends.
A few days before Christmas she persuaded me to go with her. After a
couple of times of trying the game a true novice got “hooked”.
From then on, she didn’t have to persuade me and I even bought myself a
After a week or so we checked the Shuffleboard bulletin board at the
Community Centre and read about a Central District Amateur Tournament
being held at Woodbrook in early January 2014. After only two weeks of
playing the game we decided to enter the tournament.
David Earle was the Tournament Director. I sure respected him because
he was not only a Director, he was also a “Pro“.
In the fall of 2014 I signed up to play Interpark which included 4 or 5
other parks. I accepted a captain position and had fun but got involved
playing in tournaments which interested me more.
Bob and Linda Read both Pro’s, love to play and were always willing to
assist, give advice, and answer questions. They spent many hours playing
the game for our benefit.
Their help and time spent is so graciously appreciated. I have tried to put
Bob’s advice to use on the courts and have also found out shuffleboard is
an endless learning experience. I am determined to do my best with the
game so their help along with Ed Perkins at the Lakeland Club have been
fantastic helping me along my climb.
Now that I have reached my goal may I say “Thank You Bob, Linda and
Ed.” Your time spend has been rewarding to me which I’ll never forget.
I have read many shuffleboard books and strategy is a vital part of the
During my first winter (2014 – 2015) I earned 2 ½ move up points. During
the next winter
2015 – 2016 I earned 2 ½ more points to become a State Amateur effective Oct.1st 2016. Now all I needed was another 5 points to become
a Pro which was my goal. I anticipated taking two winters as a State
Amateur to get the 5 points. It didn’t work out that way.
I left Brockville eager to start the snowbird season of 2016 – 2017
arriving at Woodbrook in early Nov. After a few days of practice on
Lakeland courts I commenced my point climb on Nov.7th. 2016 at the
Lakeland tournament. I had point success, so entered other tournaments
and much to my surprise within 6 weeks I earned the final point I needed
to become a Pro. That happened at the Lakeland courts on Dec.16th. What
a Christmas present. I was so happy I cried.
Thank You Pauline for being there. I heard Lorraine and Dave ask Pauline
“what’s wrong with him?” After Pauline told them, they both came over
and congratulated me. I could hardly believe what I had accomplished. My
two-year theory had flown the coup.
I realize it will be different shuffling with the Pros next season but I’m
going to give it a good try. At my age I figure I’m 15 years or so behind a
lot of present Pro shufflers who are my age.
I often wonder where I’d be if I had started shuffling in the fall of 2001
which was our first winter at Woodbrook Estates.
I lost 12 years of shuffling by doing other things I enjoyed doing, instead
of shuffleboard. Also, would not have had Bob and Linda to coach me,
so I feel blessed to be where I am today with the game.
On January 9th, 2017, I entered A-12, a National Amateur Tournament at
Lakeland and won 1st place so I have a lovely plaque for one year with my
name included with previous winners. I also won a one of a kind National
Amateur Shuffleboard pin which I’m proud to wear.
At the time I also had a smaller 7” x 9” keep sake plaque made. I’m
pleased I did that as once the year is up I’d have nothing other than the
My plaque is on our wall here and I’m proud to have this keep sake to display.
While shuffling in 2015- 2016 as a District Amateur I earned 9 Reiny
(Master) points which was not enough to qualify for the Masters.
This year 2016 – 2017 as a State Amateur the Reiny Masters points are
looking much better.
For the past two years we have entered the Polk Senior Games. Our first
year was fun and another learning experience.
Last year we entered in our respective age groups in both singles and
doubles and came home winning silver in the Polk Senior Games.
That win qualified us to enter into the Florida State
Championships held at the Clearwater Courts in Dec. 2016.
We attended, and Dorothy won Gold in her age group in singles, and we
won Bronze in Doubles. Now we find out we have both qualified to
participate in the 2017 National Senior Games held at Birmingham,
Alabama. June 2 – 15, 2017.
We are unable to attend the Nationals because of the 182 day limit in
USA per year. We always make sure our stay here at Lakeland is
somewhat short of the 182 days so we don’t have any issues at the
Canadian Border going home each spring.
If we went to the Nationals it would put us over the 182 days so I have
notified authorities we would not be attending. We would love to but we
don’t make the rules, just abide by them.
We like to come to Lakeland in early November before it gets too cold
and snowy and stay until the grass is green at home in the spring.
5 ½ months or so is well under the 182 day maximum stay in USA.
To sum up my shuffleboard experience “It has been a privilege to
compete as a member of the Florida Central District State Amateur
Masters”, and an honour I’ll cherish for the rest of my lif