A perfect sunny day greeted the competitive shuffleboard players who turned out at East Ridge at Cutler Bay for the City of Cutler Bay’s 5th annual Senior Games.
Playing both singles and doubles games, the players lived both within the life plan community as well as around the Cutler Bay area.
Residents included Robert Blagriff, Bob Parkerson, Barry and Sandra Reed, Gary Sisler, Fran Plummer and Carole Bell who get together most Wednesdays and play at East Ridge. Many discovered shuffleboard when they moved to the community including Blagriff, who started playing three years ago.
Their opponents considered them formidable rivals since East Ridge offers one of the few shuffleboard facilities in the area. Parkerson dissuaded their jabs and felt that everyone had an equal chance since their practice was limited during the summer because of the heat.
According to Scott Manas who was playing in his first Senior Games, “These guys are really good. They know the strategy of the game”.
As the youngest competitor, Manas, who is 52, had to wait four years to be age qualified to play. Although he hasn’t played shuffleboard since 1976, he just thought he’d show up and play in four of the Senior Game events but he quickly found out how serious some of the players take the games.
“Its great fun but these guys understand the mathematics behind winning,” he added.
Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Sue Loyzelle was on hand as a player, looking forward to the fun of the Games.
Since having hip surgery last January, she admits she doesn’t take shuffleboard too seriously but finds the exercise great for stretching.
“The comradery is terrific and it’s an opportunity to meet many different people,” she said. “Seeing the participation by East Ridge residents is great too and we appreciate the community hosting the games for the 5th year.”
In addition to shuffleboard, the events at East Ridge included billiards, table tennis and horseshoes.
Activities like the Senior Games encourage people to stay active and healthy and the socialization is important too. Qualifiers can go on to compete in the Florida Senior games in Clearwater, Dec. 1-9.
Loyzelle mentioned that any senior veteran can also participate in the Golden Games which will be held in Alaska. While a player pays for their transportation, Miami-Dade County pays for their room and board.
Many of the veterans playing in the Senior Games are also Golden Game competitors. Rufus Gilbert, who was returning for his second year playing in the Senior Games, started playing shuffleboard last season at the VA and now plays once a week. He’s planning to play in the Golden Games in Alaska and attended last year’s games in Albuquerque.
“I enjoy the fun. It’s the most important thing,” he said. “And, the opportunity to see a lot of veterans you’ve seen before.”
In addition to the lighted East Ridge shuffleboard facility, the life plan community offers residents a Wellness Center with state-of-the- fitness equipment and classes, an outdoor heated swimming complex, disc golf course, horseshoe and bocce courts. The Lifestyle Center and auditorium are the community’s central gathering locations for indoor activities too.
To learn more about East Ridge, please call 305-256-3564 for a personal tour.