The world as we know it has been on a pause for most of 2020 and now into 2021. The annual Minnesota Kubb Loppet Tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. One thing is for certain, kubb must go on during these times regardless of the challenges we face, so the Virtual World 2v2 Kubb Tournament was created. Besides needing my own kubb fix this winter, I believe that playing kubb is good for the mental health of our players. The tournament was scheduled on the same day that the Loppet would have taken place, Saturday, Feb. 6. Using a virtual format, this made it much more possible for players from around the country to join in on the fun. There will be many things that are talked about in years to come, but the variety of playing conditions around the country will likely be the one that stands out most.
Weather and Conditions
A huge cold front moved south from the Arctic and into the Midwest on the day before the tournament. Players in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois spent all day with sub-zero temps and -20 wind chill factors. One player in North Carolina played comfortably in the 60s and two players in California broke a sweat at 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather was tolerable for most in the Midwest, but the temps started dropping around 3 p.m. For some, the snow conditions got to be even smoother than earlier in the day because of the colder air. I personally found that I had to drill with a higher loft at that time in order to get kubbs to stick.
As the tournament director, I decided to set a few goals to see if virtual kubb can progress even more than it has since its inception in December of 2018. I have wondered if our texting method of communication will get stale and if virtual kubb will regress. A virtual player meeting was held the weekend before the tournament to go over the tournament details with all players.
These were my goals that I shared with them:
- Try the virtual 2v2 format to see if it works for the kubb community where teammates are not in the same location.
- Player #1: The driller would also blast and use as many batons as needed to clear.
- Player #2: Throws whatever batons are remaining from player #1.
- Have the finals streamed using a Google Meet from all of the various locations (possibly up to four) and invite an audience to join in and watch.
- Have players try communicating using a voice call instead instead of text and compare their experiences.
- Have the tournament mostly run itself so I can be a player as well. Editing rights to the tournament Google document were given to team captains.
Reflecting On The Goals
- The players seemed to grasp the concept of having teammates in different locations. Our finals teams both had teammates in different states and they all played at a high level. Several teams had players who played on the same pitch as well. This one will still take time to catch on with the whole community, but it was definitely successful on this day.
- The cold proved to be difficult with technological devices all day. We were not able to host the finals on Google Meet. We will save that goal for next time.
- Having players communicate with voice instead of text was received with mixed reviews. The cold causes some issues, it got a bit noisy for some and others absolutely loved it because you could chat with your opponent.
- The tournament ran itself pretty well with the control I gave to captains. I still used a Messenger texting thread to guide the tournament along throughout the day. Lots of good, friendly banter happened all day on that thread which made it enjoyable.
Top Five Player Memories Post-Tournament
Matt Green (De Pere, Wisc.)
- Having Phil Dickinson, Joe Hrejsa, and Cody drive the distance to play in person together for our “virtual” tournament truly warmed my heart.
- Having a heated garage to stave off the frigid temps.
- Phil and I not having our greatest outing, still having a blast and getting to play an epic best of five against Phil after the tournament until we almost ran out of light—Mr. Dickinson won in five by the way.
- Losing to Joe and Cody in the consolation after they had not won a game all day and we had to call Cody back to play the match. Freaking guys just could not miss.
- As crazy as it sounds, doing all the prep work Friday evening to be able to fit two pitches in my backyard, heated garage, and my wife cooking and feeding us all day Saturday. We even had a visit from The Beast, Chad Bevers for about 2 and half hours.
- Thanks John Oman for putting this on. It is a great idea. It is my escape from the world. I wouldn’t trade kubb or the friends and family that I have been granted from it, for the world. Peace and Kubb On.
Garrick Van Buren (Minnneapolis)
- My son Cooper enthusiastically drilling and blasting all the games.
Joe Hrejsa (Gaylord, Mich.)
- Having Matt Green, Phil Dickinson and Cody all in one place for the tournament. Non stop laughs all day!!
- The Green’s hospitality!!
- Cody having to return after leaving to continue play.
- Getting to spend time with the Greens.
- Getting to play Kubb!!
Demian Moore (St Paul, Minn.)
No particular order:
- Stevie Dolan‘s homemade bagel with homemade lox
- Being in touch with a bunch of guys I miss from face-to-face kubb, especially Cali guys who I haven’t seen for too long.
- Missing the king, which would have put us in the upper bracket over Cali 2-0. Instead they took us 2-1 (“top” memories doesn’t always = good memories)
- The night before, trying to remove a frozen-into-the-ground metal tube from the pitch. Hot water and a pick-axe weren’t enough. Ended up being our 4 meter drilling marker.
- Stevie D hitting a bunch of crazy combo doubles and triples multiple times.
Steve Dolan (St Paul, Minn.)
- Julian Petrillo complaining the lunch break was not long enough to change into shorts.
- Propane heater running out after 15 minutes.
John Ellingsen (Eau Claire, Wisc.)
- The breakfast burritos made by Joe’s wife Audrey got us energized and warm.
- The Sun! Low wind.
- Voice call was great until my iPhone froze and shutdown.
- We played competitively, winning at least one game in three of four matches in a high power tournament.
- Interacting with a great group of people I would have never met, but for kubb!! Thanks for bringing us back together for a day!!
Paul Knutson (Chaska, Minn.)
- John’s positive attitude and good coaching!
- John’s wicked double field/baseline shot! An amazing salvage of some deeper drills having gone very wrong. Soooo great!
- Everyone taking the time to play in somewhat difficult conditions. I mean, even the California guys had to deal with dew on the grass, early on! Luckily it got up to 79 later in the day! Whew!
Jason “J.P.” Larson (Minneapolis)
- Trying something new and having fun with a crazy bunch of people willing to do the same thing.
- Playing good kubb (avenging an earlier loss). Trevor Bailey “Squirrel” or “Chipper” making it to the finals with a new teammate
- Actually watching my teammate and competition play the last two rounds
- Chatting with teams and conversations during play
- Pitch maintenance and clothing selection was an important part of the day
Trevor Bailey (Minneapolis)
Order doesn’t matter here the entire experience was a blast!
- Snow kubb, and cold snow kubb at that. So silly, so much fun, literally would do it again in a heartbeat.
- Finally getting the chance to “meet” some big kubb names that I’ve only seen via YouTube and heard about through stories.
- Teaming up with this random @Mike Davids dude who knows how to drill better than dewalt and blast better than tnt. Gave me so many opportunities to chuck at a lot of 8s.
- Chaska final, makes it easier to lose, and also makes losing quasi enjoyable.
- First ever two-round kubb match, I opened 1/2, Mike set me up with five batons the next round, hit, hit, hit, hit, king. I about crapped my pants.
Phil Goetstouwers (Hinton, Iowa)
In no particular order:
- Teaming up with J.P., which is always a good time by itself, but him asking a few weeks ago what our goal of this tournament was and actually practicing with that goal in mind as well as accomplishing that goal.
- Playing a Chaska team in the semis and having 3/4 Chaska finals.
- Seeing Trevor make a name for himself in this kubb world and having solid 8s all day (kudos to Mike as well for giving him so many looks at 8s). I can’t complain about that from my partner either.
- Being able to play a winter tournament in my front yard and having the option to go inside between games to put on shorts as well.
- Starting lights out against Green and Dickinson and then a couple matches later getting cold on 8s against Bailey and Davids. Kubb Gods giveth and taketh.
- Playing against Garrick and his son Cooper and even though they left us a line, they were laughing and seemed to be having a good time regardless. I’m hoping someday I’ll have that opportunity to play kubb with my kids in tournaments as well.
Mike Davids (Huntersville, N.C.)
Top 5 in no particular order.
- Having the opportunity to play competitive kubb again. This last year and a half has definitely been a challenge for us and I am just thankful for the continued support and coaching from this kubb community.
- Trevor Bailey. My partner was lights out all day on 8s. Chaska Kubb definitely has a great player in the making. No way we’re we expecting to make the finals at the start of the day, as J.P. and Phil could attest to my video skills…
- Weather. It was nice here in North Carolina, but most of you guys might need some mental evaluation. LOL! Those temps were insane! My happy hiney would be inside with a nice bottle of bourbon.
- Getting to catch up with my kubb brothers. The virtual aspects were cool, but can’t wait to play in person. I did enjoy the messenger calls though. Hopefully this spring.
- My neighbor constantly coming out asking “who are you talking to?” or “who are you yelling at?” They just moved in and don’t understand how real the struggle is…
Scott Kent (Batavia, Ill.)
- The feeling of camaraderie with everyone despite being hundreds or thousands of miles apart and in risky different conditions.
- Watching my neighbors look at George and me out in the cold as they drive by and slowly shake their heads.
- Knowing that we now have a shoveled out pitch in George’s yard that we can maintain and use for the rest of the winter.
- Playing some of the best players in the Midwest and not feeling out of place. The kubb community shows its colors yet again.
- Knowing that there is so much more kubb to come this year!
Two groups of five teams each was used to give each team a guaranteed four matches. Five rounds of best of three games determined ranking goes into the afternoon brackets. The top two teams would go to the championship bracket with the third and fourth in the consolation bracket.
Paul Knutson and John Oman were 8-0 in group play games and Trevor Bailey and Mike Davids brought in an impressive 8-1 record. These were the top two seeds.
Knutson and Oman were taken down 2-1 in the semi-finals by J.P. Larson and Phil Goetstouwers. It was their first loss of the day.
In the other semi-final, Bailey and Davids defeated Julian Petrillo and Marshall Dostal 2-0. Petrillo and Dostal would go on to avenge an earlier loss to Knutson and Oman in the bronze, winning 2-1.
In the finals match, Larson and Goetstouwers would go on to avenge an earlier loss to Bailey and Davids with a 2-0 victory.
Demian Moore and Steve Dolan won their way through the consolation bracket for fifth place.
Final Group Results
- Bailey / Davids (14)
- Larson / Goetstouwers (13)
- Green / Dickinson (8)
- Sloan / Kent (5.33)
- Van Buren / Van Buren (3.67)
- Oman / Knutson (15)
- Petrillo / Dostal (10)
- Moore / Dolan (8.67)
- Dekan / Ellingsen (8.33)
- Hrejsa / Glorioso (3)
Photos courtesy of the tournament players.
- Phil Goetstouwers (Hinton, Iowa) and Jason “J.P.” Larson (Minneapolis)
- Trevor Bailey (Minneapolis) and Mike Davids (Huntersville, N.C.)
- Marshall Dostal (South Pasadena, Cal.) and Julian Petrillo (South Pasadena, Cal.)
- Paul Knutston (Chaska, Minn.) and John Oman (Chaska, Minn.)
- Steve Dolan (St. Paul, Minn.) and Demian Moore (St. Paul, Minn.)
- Cody Glorioso (Milwaukee) and Joe Hrejsa (Gaylord, Mich.)
T7 Phil Dickinson (Alanson, Mich.) and Matt Green (Appleton, Wisc.)
T7 Scott Kent (Sterling, Ill.) and George Sloan (Sterling, Ill.)
T9 Cooper Van Buren (Minneapolis) and Garrick Van Buren (Minneapolis)
T9 John Ellingsen (Eau Claire, Wisc.) and Joe Dekan (Eau Claire, Wisc.)