Betmar plays host to summer doubles event
By Kyle LoJacono
Walt Shine and Chuck Brayman had never played as a shuffleboard team before, but the two managed to take home the Summer National Championship Any Doubles title at Betmar in Zephyrhills June 7.
Shine, of Zephyrhills, usually plays with Jerry Brandon, but the latter could not play because of kidney problems. Brayman, of Leesburg, generally pairs with Gary McLaughlin, but he returned to New York for the summer.
It is the first national championship for both players, making the late combination somewhat of a surprise.
“My partner couldn’t play, so Earl Ball helped the two of us come together,” Shine said. “Chuck agreed, so here we are. I always expect to win when I play, but it doesn’t always happen. I play to win, but win or lose I have fun.”
Ball also lives in Zephyrhills and won the tournament last year. While he does not like losing, he was happy someone else had the opportunity to win the title.
“My words to them were I could win the tournament with either one of them, so I’m sure the two of them would win the whole thing,” said Ball, whose 15 national titles are tied for the most all time.
The newly crowned champions do have some playing history.
“We played against each other in Lakeland a couple months ago,” Brayman said. “He actually beat me, but we haven’t played with each other before. It just kind of happened and I certainly would play with him again.”
Shine, 72, agreed that the two may team up in the future.
“We thought we’d be good,” Brayman said. “He plays to ‘put them in the kitchen’ and so do I, so we play the same way.”
“Putting someone in the kitchen” means hitting an opponent’s disc in a spot on the court that subtracts 10 from his score.
The two defeated the combination of Mickey Henson and Bob Sempolinski in less than one hour 75-(40), 75-22. Brayman followed his normal game plan and put Sempolinski in the kitchen four times in the first game and another two times in the second. Shine scored 81 points for his team during the match, including 45 in the decisive game.
Shine is in his first year as a professional player and really enjoyed the opportunity to win his first national title on his home court.
“It’s been a wonderful couple of days,” Shine said. “We’ve had some matches that lasted a couple hours, and that takes a lot out of you, but we managed to prevail. A lot of it has to do with luck; you can see that in the final match. Our opponents had some bad luck and we had some good luck.”
Brayman has been playing since 1991, but had to fight through pain to win his first U.S. championship. He has been suffering from four bone spurs in his neck for the last few months and will be having surgery to remove them shortly.
The tournament was played June 6-7 and had 32, two-player teams, seven women and 25 men pairings. The event has been played at Betmar the last four years, but it will be moving to Lakeland and played in May next year.
For more information on shuffleboard in Florida, visit the Florida Shuffleboard Association’s website at www.fsa-shuffleboard.org.