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Communities hold end-of-season tournament

March 23, 2016
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

One of North Fort Myers' oldest leagues is ready to close out yet another season.

The Bayshore Shuffleboard League, now in its 42nd season, held its end-of-season tournament Monday and Tuesday at the Lee County Shuffleboard Club next to the recreation center.

The league, which pits teams from each of the mobile home communities in the area, did just that one more time before a celebratory luncheon this Wednesday and many of the shufflers head north for the summer.

Pete Longjohn, league president, said this tournament was meant for individual and team members in a double elimination tournament to determine the king and queen of the hill.

"Everyone is guaranteed two games, if you lose, regardless of if you're in the main or consolation bracket, you're done," Longjohn said. "It's easy to get knocked off in the main draw.

The league, which began its season in early November, once again found it teams chasing perennial champions Lazy Days, which features nine pro players and has won 10 consecutive league championships, making them the greatest dynasty in the history of sport.

Longjohn said Lazy Days may have problems next year because league rules say two pros are not allowed to play with each other.

"My team started with nine new players this year and a new player going against a pro is like a high school players going against an NFL team," Longjohn said.

Longjohn said the secret to the league's success is the dedication of the players and others involved, as well as the bonds that form.

"The friendships that develop, the people you get to know from the other parks, is what life is all about," Jongjohn said. "Shuffleboard is an enjoyable game. We don't play for blood. We play for having fun. Some of the teams eat together after playing each other."

With nine teams in the draw, one had to sit out. That was Gary and Jackie Carpino of Poinsettia Park. They said they enjoy playing the good shufflers because they learn a lot from them aside from their friendship.

"Our team doesn't have any pros, but we finished second. It's wonderful. You meet a lot of really nice people," Gary said.

"The older they are the better they are. It'd a great sport. Everyone young and old should play it. It's challenging like chess," Jackie said, who is one of the youngest players in the league.

William Bryan, a Lazy Days players who winters in Ontario, said the appeal of the sport is that it resembles curling, a very popular sport up north.

"We're not that good, we just have the most fun doing it. We curled for years and we have a lot of Canadians here who curled," Bryan said. "We love the Americans. They treat us like kings and queens."

Ellsworth Heating & Cooling was the main sponsor of the league for the 27th straight year.

Also, the league will once again hold its postseason celebration on Wednesday at Crystal Lakes, where the winners of the main and consolation draws will be feted.



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