Shuffleboard is a unique sport that involves strategically shuffling discs down a court. Today, shuffleboard is typically played on a 52-foot concrete court that is marked with two large triangles at either end. Using a cue stick with a hook on the end, players send discs down the court to score points, or to knock opponents’ discs out of scoring position. Players earn points based on where their discs land. The first individual or team to 75 points wins.
The long history of this classic sport began during the 15th century in England. A popular activity among both the aristocracy and the peasant classes, shuffleboard – known then as “shove board” – involved sliding English coins down tabletops. The object of the game was to get the coin as close to the opposite edge of the table without it sliding off.
During the 16th century Henry VIII banned shuffleboard in England, as the popular game was distracting soldiers from their military training. Though the ban wasn’t entirely effective, shuffleboard did begin to lose popularity. By the 17th century, many in Britain’s upper class had taken to billiards and shuffleboard was found mostly in taverns and bars. However, the sport had made its way to the United States, where it took hold and became somewhat popular.
Shuffleboard’s popularity grew along the east coast of the United States during the 1800s. Wealthy families once again took interest in the game, furniture makers began manufacturing shuffleboard equipment and tables, and shuffleboard tournaments were sponsored. In the 1840s, the game shifted from tavern tables to marked courts, the coins were replaced with discs and long sticks were used as sliders. In the early 1900s, shuffleboard spread to the west coast of the US, gaining popularity in California pubs.
During the 1920s, shuffleboard’s popularity once again suffered as prohibition took hold, shutting down many pubs and taverns. However, the Great Depression in the 1930s helped keep the sport alive. Since most people didn’t have money to eat out, many restaurants and taverns replaced dining tables with shuffleboard tables to attract customers, resulting in the formation of many shuffleboard leagues. During World War II, shuffleboard became extremely popular once again, with troops playing in pubs and taverns and bringing the game home with them following the war.
Shuffleboard was in its heyday during the 1950s, but its popularity declined again in the 1960s as new forms of entertainment, including television, began gaining popularity.
Fast-forward to today and shuffleboard is making a comeback yet again. The sport is gaining popularity with young people throughout the country, and older adults are returning to the sport as well. While some still play tabletop shuffleboard, many recreational facilities have shuffleboard courts, making this fun, affordable and family friendly activity very accessible.
You can participate in this classic sport’s most recent comeback by playing during your stay at one of Encore’s Rio Grande Valley RV resorts! Most of our facilities are equipped with shuffleboard courts and equipment. The sport is easy to pick up and straightforward to understand.
Find out why this unique sport is gaining popularity once again and come play shuffleboard in the Rio Grande Valley today!