BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
If you’re not careful, Mouse Wolven will ruin your afternoon.
Well, maybe not your entire afternoon. But that depends on how competitive you are.
I recently spent some time with Wolven, the president of the Ormond Beach Shuffleboard Club, on his home turf: the courts. And because I had no idea what I was doing, he was kind of enough to show me the basics of a game more closely resembling chess than I ever gave it credit for.
Your first shot is important, it sets the tone for the remaining shots that turn. You want to place it on the opposite side of court, in front of the scoring area.
Once placed, that puck should act as a defense.
Your next shot should line up behind the first, so your opponent can’t bump your puck out of the scoring area or worse, into the kitchen (a trapezoid-shaped block at the bottom of the scoring area, which subtracts 10 points from your score if you're unlucky enough to land a puck in it).
With each shot correctly (or in my case, incorrectly) placed, the entire strategy of the game changes. A shooter is forced to simultaneously play offense and defense.
There are four scoring areas on a shuffleboard court, rewarding seven, eight, 10 and -10 points. The scoring area looks like a pyramid with a trapezoid "kitchen" on its bottom.
Shooting one of your pucks into the kitchen is bad. Getting one of your pucks bumped into the kitchen by your opponent is worse. And getting bumped into the kitchen while your opponent places his puck in the (good) 10-point scoring area is soul crushing.
And I know, because this happened to me during the infancy of my shuffleboard career. Literally on my first turn against Wolven.
Shuffleboard is stereotypically a game for the retired. The Ormond Beach Shuffleboard Club practices 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, on the courts in the back of the Sports Complex.
They also play tournaments against other area shuffleboard clubs. And they may just get a new, younger member, as long as Wolven promises to teach me his crafty secrets.