St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

How others see us

From Sunday's New York Times , which discovered that shuffleboard is alive and well and being played in downtown St. Petersburg by a different crowd these days.

Published September 13, 2005

* * *

It was late on a Friday night and in deference to the full moon, REM's Man on the Moon played through speakers attached to an iPod. A group of tattooed and goateed men and women was beginning to form, punching messages into their cellphones, lugging coolers and stubbing out cigarettes.

It could have been any gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but there were palm trees lining the nearby sidewalk, a warm breeze coming in from Tampa Bay, and the activity that was about to commence was shuffleboard. "It is one of the few sports that you can play holding a beverage," said Chris Kelly, 39, as he brandished a cue in one hand and opened a Coke with the other.

Once heralded as the "Mecca of Shuffleboard," for the past two decades the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club complex has been showing signs of its age, 78 years, and irrelevance. The elegant covered bleachers, which held the hundreds who came out to watch the club's many tournaments and were the setting for the 1985 movie Cocoon, are now ruins with peeling paint, broken windows and splintered wood.

As St. Petersburg expanded and many club patrons died or moved away, membership, which peaked at 5,000 in the 1980s, dwindled to around a hundred players, many of whom are over 80 years old. It doesn't help that today's baby-boomer retirees prefer more active sports. ...

Now, however, possible salvation has arrived in the unexpected form of three activists and artists in their 30s.

[Last modified September 13, 2005, 01:45:22]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters