Hemet is known as ‘shuffleboard heaven’

Shuffleboard is competitive but friendly – and you meet people

Photos by Kathleen Prokop / The Valley Chronicle
Shuffleboard teams from Hemet West and Seven Hills Green Teams played a spirited match the day the Valley Chronicle visited.

■ Kathleen Prokop / Contributed

Hemet is known as Shuffleboard Heaven. The city has so many indoor boards, 25 in fact, that anyone who plays says it’s like being in heaven! At one time, there were over 2,000 players here.
The type of shuffleboard played in Hemet is called deck, or floor shuffleboard. League play starts in October and ends in March. The game isn’t quite as popular today as it once was, but there still are more than 500 players, a substantial number of people.

Depending on what club you join, membership is usually $7 – $25 per year. All the equipment you need is provided as each club has house cues for their members’ use, although most players like to buy their own cues.
Shuffleboard may be the ideal sport for seniors to keep one’s mind and body in good condition. It involves learning strategies and having to adapt to the seemingly ever-changing boards. It requires and improves balance and hand-eye coordination. Best of all it is a great way to meet people and develop long-lasting friendships.

The shuffleboards at Hemet West are among the best in the state and attract avid players from Hemet and surrounding areas.

Game of shuffleboard
Shuffleboard is both an offensive and defensive game. The object of the game is to keep your opponent from scoring while trying to make points. Players use a 75-inch cue to push four 15-ounce, one-inch thick discs down a narrow 39-foot court to score within a marked scoring triangle area. The idea is to protect a scoring disc or take out your opponents’ scoring discs.
The board is dressed with a formula of wax beads and cornmeal. Each board is unique because it is made of poured concrete, but is not perfectly level. This makes the discs “drift” as they travel to the other end and increases the challenge of the game. The same board can even change characteristics during a game, which adds to the challenge. There are four people on a board. Two opponents play side by side at the foot and the others at the head of the board.

There is a triangle at each end of the board with four different scoring sections. The top section is 10 points, the next section 8 points, then 7 points and finally the base of the triangle is minus 10 points. There are six basic shots:
• Score – your disc lands in the scoring triangle
• Block – protecting your scoring disc from being taken out
• Take –out – taking your opponents scoring or blocking disc out
• Take-out and stick – taking out a scoring disc by knocking it out and remaining in the scoring position
• Shoot a disc so it lands behind another disc making it harder to take-out
• Shoot through – when you don’t want to leave a disc on the board that the opponent can put in the minus-10 position

Hemet West Team
The president of the Hemet West Team is Paul Epps and he is the manager of the club at Hemet West Shuffleboard. Tootie Chittenden, who is the current treasurer at Hemet West, has won a California State Hall of Fame award. Her picture hangs on the Hall of Fame wall at Golden Village Palms.
When we asked Chittenden what she likes most about the game of shuffleboard, she replied: “It is a challenging and a friendship game where you can meet people.” She stated that a player does not have to be strong, and some players are amputees and even in wheelchairs.

Player expertise is rated according to color, with red and white teams being the best. Here you can see the awards that local players won competing in local, state, and national competitions.

Chittenden, who has been playing for seven years, is running for president next year, which, if elected, will be a two-year term, the limit for all officers. In Riverside County, there are two districts, District 7, which includes Hemet and Sun City, and District 5, which is Palm Springs. Suzanne Shapiro is president of the District 7 Shuffleboard Association. Jay Davidson is president of the California Shuffleboard Association (CSA). District 7 members can compete in state, national, and international competitions. Davidson recently played in Canada and next year will be playing in Vienna, Austria. (To learn more about the state association, visit www.csashuffleboard.com.)

The CSA was first founded in 1959 by Harold E. Wilson. It had its first bylaws and constitution based on play in Florida, the HUB of shuffleboard in the U.S. District 7 has been part of the CSA since January 1963.
The first Hall of Fame members were inducted in 1965 at Manteca, Calif. In 2003, the Hall of Fame was moved to the Golden Village Palms Shuffleboard Club here in Hemet.
National Shuffleboard
in Hemet
The CSA plans a National Shuffleboard meet in Hemet the first week of April 2019. There are 15 U.S. states with shuffleboard associations, and competitors are expected from across the U.S.
For further information, visit the District 7 website, www.district-7-shufflers.com. Should you wish to join or try the sport, feel free to call Cecil Burt at 951-765-7181.

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