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.
By JIM VERHULST
Published September 13, 2005
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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]
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