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Jan 2001 / games :: email this story to a friend

Boards Master
By Thomas Crone

If you've ever happened across a bar on the South Side called That Other Place, there's a good chance you've spoken to Bill Hill.

And the first topic of conversation probably revolved around whether or not you played the game of shuffleboard. The tavern near the intersection of Watson and Hampton contains Hill's main table, one that he calls the best around. But he'll also spend some shooting time around town, playing in tournaments and league nights.

You will not find a more enthusiastic supporter of any game, sport or activity anywhere.

On September 23, 2000, Hill was inducted into the Missouri Shuffleboard Hall of Fame, cited as a "promoter, director, ambassador to the game." The event took place in Houston, at the Eagle's Lounge Aerie #3911. That's Houston, MO, by the by.

Recently, Hill was discussing, yes, shuffleboard up at That Other Place. He handed out a small zine created for his induction, which contained a number of testimonials from fellow players and friends.

Here's Hill's own take on his shufflin' life.

My World of Shuffleboard

My world of shuffleboard started in about 1943 when I was in the United State Army. I'm not sure if it was Boston or Baltimore since I was on the move so much. I had a lot of fun doing it (playing shuffleboard). Then I went to England and then across the Channel to France. I had a few words with Adolph's boys and came home to the good old USA. I then found a few boards around St. Louis. In the late forties and early fifties I played at a tavern on Olive Street in St. Louis called the 4055.

I thought I was pretty good. We had no leagues or tournaments. We played for beer or drinks. I either played good or really bad; I'd get pretty loaded by closing time. I played in a few other taverns as well but then I got married and raised a family. I coached sports for eighteen years (soccer, baseball, basketball and softball). I also sponsored most of these teams.

Then one day someone told me that there was a shuffleboard table at Dave Geisler's place on Watson Road. I went to see and sure enough there it was. I met a lady Bumble "B" or Super "B". She asked me to be her partner. I did and we won a couple of games and I got the bug again. That was about 1984. I told Dave and Dick Smith, the captain of the B team, when I was good enough I'd like to join a team. Dave told me I was ready. So I played with Dick a few years and we won a lot of plaques and trophies.

You meet a lot of wonderful people and most are good sports and there's a hell-of-a-lot of good competitors. That's why I try to promote new players. It's a good night out from the daily grind and to me it's a relaxing pastime, and I like to think of it as a sport. So call me at 314/280-2220 and I'll help you if I can, and I think I can.

Love to you all.
Thunder Bill Hill

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