Saturday, August 18, 2018
News Roundup

Shuffleboard championships draw mix of old and young to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Bernar Borges was 51 years younger than his competitor, and at least a head taller.

The 23-year-old Brazilian smoothed his mustache, stretched his neck back and stooped to push his yellow disc forward.

It clacked against a black disk and slid to the left, off the shuffleboard court.

Not good.

Borges is an actuarial science student from Rio. His opponent, 74-year-old Bob Marshman, is a retiree from Zephyrhills who spends four days a week competing.

The 2013 World Shuffleboard Singles Championship being played in St. Petersburg this week is an intersection of age and skill, a scene still dominated by seniors but increasingly drawing younger competitors.

"You've got 90-year-old people here and we've got 16-year-old players here, and they play as equals on the court," said Michael Zellner, president of the International Shuffleboard Association.

The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was chosen to host the weeklong competition to coincide with the sport's 100th anniversary in Florida. On Monday, 160 players from 13 countries converged on the courts, determined to prove shuffleboard is neither the exclusive domain of retirees nor best played in North America.

• • •

On the international field, Canadians and Americans dominate, but that isn't necessarily the case abroad, where the sport is relatively new.

"There's none of this (only) retired people playing and all this old man stuff," said Dieter Hussmann, 54, president of the German Shuffleboard Association.

Hussmann's German group works hard to bill the sport as a family game.

"Sex or age or personal fitness — it doesn't matter," Hussmann said. "It's pure skill."

But that skill takes time to develop, and it's why the snowbirds excel. When they leave the cold of New York or Ontario for the busy shuffleboard courts of places like Zephyrhills, they bring their cues. Retirement gives them open days to compete and teach and train.

You can't age out of shuffleboard. There's almost no physical component. If you can step, hold a cue and move your arm forward, you're fit to play.

• • •

The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club is a sprawl of refurbished green courts and white stucco buildings on the north end of Mirror Lake.

Founded in 1924, it's the largest and the oldest club in the country, but since the mid 2000s has a young following. Organizers want more 20-somethings on the courts.

"You know how people get obsessed with video games or a sport?" club membership director Jen Logan asked. "We want them to get obsessed."

To be eligible for competition, players need only belong to a club, she said.

The club, like the sport, is chasing a cultural shift that comes with a caveat. Younger, more fit players may well be the underdog.

"There's a big difference between someone who's been playing for 50 years and someone who's been playing for five," Logan said. "Even if they are training."

Claire Wiseman can be reached at (727) 893-8804 or [email protected] On Twitter: @clairelwiseman.

   
Comments
Preseason football: Hillsborough 29, East Lake 23

Preseason football: Hillsborough 29, East Lake 23

TAMPA — When moving on to your third football program in four seasons, it helps to have a familiar face on the scene to help make things click faster.For Hillsborough quarterback Charlie Dean, fresh from playing for Tampa Catholic last fall, that per...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Yeah, but …Every Jameis Winston-Marcus Mariota debate is full of them.Winston has completed more passes (939), gained more passing yards (11,636) and thrown more passing touchdowns (69) before his age 24 season than any quarterback in NFL histo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

It’s David Price time, from Rays ‘openers’ to rise of Blake Snell

BOSTON — David Price heard about the recent reunion of the Rays' 2008 American League championship club that he played a big role on as a small part of, and he had a few questions.What players were there? How did it go? Did second baseman Akino...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Rays journal: A 3-0 first-inning lead turns into a loss to powerful Red Sox

BOSTON — Scoring three runs in the top of the first inning is typically a good start toward a victory.But not so much at cozy Fenway Park.And definitely not against these red-hot Red Sox.Facing their AL East rivals for the first time since late...
Updated: 6 hours ago
From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE — Ten thousand blue leis were distributed to Titans fans for the NFL draft on the day their team picked Marcus Mariota.The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner wasn't even at Nissan Stadium for the party, which drew a crowd of 20,000. But the w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Preseason football: Clearwater Central Catholic 24, Wiregrass Ranch 14

Preseason football: Clearwater Central Catholic 24, Wiregrass Ranch 14

WESLEY CHAPEL — Clearwater Central Catholic, held to 11 yards rushing in the first half, turned on the power game behind senior Casey Levy, whose 120-yard performance helped carry the visiting Marauders to a 24-14 win at Wiregrass Ranch.Levy’s lone t...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Preseason football: Tampa Bay Tech 54, Brandon 6

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech earned all the momentum it needed heading into next week’s sizable test at Armwood.The Titans powered by visiting Brandon 54-6 in a preseason classic on Friday night. The game was cruising along until a 20-minute lightning dela...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Preseason football: Tampa Catholic 36, Robinson 15

TAMPA — First-year Tampa Catholic coach Jeris McIntyre hasn’t named a starting quarterback yet, but Dylan McCain shined in his job interview Friday, running a Crusader offense that scored 22 points in the second half on the way to a 36-15 preseason v...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Preseason football: Jefferson 53, Newsome 0

LITHIA — Jefferson’s Tyler Thomas needed less than a quarter to throw down a challenge to the area teams: Catch him if you can.Unsuspecting Newsome, playing host to the preseason classic, never had a chance in the 53-0 loss on Friday.Thomas, a senior...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Preseason football: Sunlake 22, Lakewood 20 (one half)

ST. PETERSBURG — Following two lengthy lightning delays, Sunlake used two blocked punts and several key defensive stops to knock off Lakewood in an abbreviated preseason game, 22-20.Matt Paduani led the way for the Seahawks, notching two touchdown ca...
Updated: 7 hours ago