YOU’LL GO FAR WITH THIS DEDICATION: 1993 by Larry Faris
Now here is dedication to shuffleboard. Four fine shufflers from Lee County get up early every Monday and drive to the location of the weekly Florida State Shuffleboard Tournament.
They sometimes drive three hours and almost always close to two hours, and when they are all done on Monday, they drive back to Lee County. Tuesday morning, the winners get up early and do it all over again.
Steve Biaggi, Jean Guy Martineau, Skip Wilde and Ray Razor are the travelling shufflers. As I understand it, when they get to the tournament they flip coins to decide how they will pair up each time.
Once they got up early and drove to Fort Pierce and flipped to decide the pair for the day. Then, quick as a unwanted kitchen the two pairs promptly drew each other.
I was sitting in the stands at St. Pete one day, watching some fine shuffleboard when Steve Biaggi came up to me and showed me an interesting situation. He knew how to handle it and wondered if I would agree. I was sitting with Rosaire Biron and Chris Stutzman, both all-time greats so I had lots of help if I needed it.
The situation is this: Yellow leads 74 to 53. Play is at the foot in a doubles match. It’s yellow’s hammer and black is about to shoot his last shot, the seventh shot of the frame. On the board is a black 8 on the black side of the court and a yellow 10-off, also on the black side and way over in the corner.
Of course, the question is “What is black’s shot?” What do you think? Make your decision before reading on.
Let’s think first about all the things that have to be considered. First is the score. Not only that yellow is at 74 and about to go out, but black is just three scores from game.
Next, the hammers. It’s yellow’s hammer; but with play at the foot, black will have the next two hammers.
Now the disc on the board, study them carefully.
In the game Biaggi reported on, black covered the yellow kitchen by shooting to the 8/ outside line. As a result, that shot allowed yellow to make a game winning
shot by replacing the 8 and removing the 10-off with it. Obviously black made a very sorry shot choice.
The correct shot is to cover the good black 8. Yellow is then in trouble. He can remove his 10-off with his hammer or he can score an 8. Either choice keeps the yellow score close to game, but also lets the black score get to 61 with two hammers coming. While black isn’t assured of making two hammers, being at 61 gives them the chance to pull out a win.
The lesson here, I think is to be both offensive and defensive at the same time. In this case black absolutely must keep the yellow, with 74 and a hammer, from going out. He has done this by putting yellow in the kitchen. That is the defense. Suddenly, he must on his fourth shot, think offense and look at his own score. Fifty-three is one of those magic numbers in our game. It says to many shufflers, “Steal a score and make two hammers and you win.”
Another message here is that there are two kinds of a 10-off situation. One is pure 10-off with no other discs on the board. A hammer shooter must either remove it, or take a 2-off by scoring. The hammer shooter cannot make any points.
The second kind of 10-off is a reversible 10-off. That is, there is an opponent’s disc on the board above the 10-off. If that disc is in or near the scoring area, the hammer shooter may be able to score and also remove his 10-off and gain points.
But the most important message here is to have friends and enjoy shuffleboard, just as the four guys from Lee County do.