Shuffleboard. Never heard of it? Maybe not in Europe, but in Canada, it is a popular past time.
Chicken wings and beer on a rainy Wednesday night sounded good to me and that was where we were heading. What a surprise to find the 45th annual Canadian Shuffleboard Championship taking place in the same location as the wings. To be honest, until that moment I have never ever heard of shuffleboard and I wanted to learn more about it. I saw long polished wooden tables with markings and little steel disks being thrown with amazing accuracy. Later, I will learn that they are called pucks. It is already late in the evening, but I take the invitation of the friendly President of the Manitoba Shuffleboard Association, Faye Mitchell, to come back the next day and see the event in full swing
When I return, I am introduced to a fascinating game which we don’t really know in Switzerland. Shuffleboard also known as table shuffleboard or American shuffleboard is a game in which players push steel-and-plastic weighted pucks or weights down a long polished wooden table into a scoring area at the opposite end of the table. Shooting is done with the hand directly, as opposed to deck shuffleboard’s use of cue sticks.
Players take turns in sliding the pucks to the end of the shuffleboard table. The goal is to score points by getting the puck to stop in one of the numbered scoring areas. The puck must cross the line completely marking the scoring area to receive points for that area. A puck which is hanging partially over the edge the end of the table normally receives an extra point. This is called a ‘Hanger’. Pucks which haven’t passed over the foul line closest to the players are removed from the table. Of course a team has to try and bump off the opposing pucks while trying to protect their own. All in all, it is a bit like curling. When all 4 pucks have been thrown, the player with the most pucks closest to the far end of the table takes points for all pucks that are ahead of their opponent’s furthest shot.
So while I am learning the nuances of the game, my eyes are glancing over to the tables to see the action. There are categories of : Ladies Single, Men Single, Ladies Double, Men Double and Mixed Doubles. Each team had to first win their local provincal championship to qualify for the right to be here for the 3 day tounament. The winners emerge not with big cash prizes, but a nice trophy and a years worth of “bragging rights” when they return home.
Photos & Story: Sabina Herbst