2010 has been a big year for Canadians on the world stage. With the G8 and G20 summits being held in Ontario and the Winter Olympics in BC, we have played host to some serious international events this year.
One international event that I was surprised didn’t garner a lot more media coverage happened on June 5th of this year. Probably because of all the garage sales that were happening that same weekend. The World Crokinole Championship (WCC) was once again hosted in Tavistock, Ontario this year and I was there to compete.
Not sure what Crokinole is? That’s ok. Most people have no friggin’ clue what it is. Here’s a primer for you from one of the greatest documentary films I’ve ever seen:
Not sure where Tavistock is? That’s ok too. With a population of about 15,000 people in rural Ontario, it’s easy to miss. It’s roughly between Kitchener and London, Ontario, south-east of Stratford.
You’re probably wondering what it takes to become a world class Crokinole competitor. Though not an exhaustive list, here are a few key things that will help you become a tremendous Crokinole athlete.
- The ability to sit for extended periods of time on a hard plastic chair
- Your arthritis medicine
- A strong index finger
- Alcohol (though not permitted at the World’s)
- Being white
- Being able to add and subtract in units of 5
- Being over 65 years old
- A keen “buttock-awareness” in order to effectively adhere to the “one-cheek” rule that states: “When a player is shooting, at least one portion of the posterior…must be in contact with his/her chair.”
You’re probably also wondering about the rigourous qualification requirements to get into the WCC. One would assume that it’s a series of local, regional, provincial and national tournaments with the winner moving on to the World’s. You could probably do that if you wanted, but I found it easier to just pay the $10 entry fee and show up on June 5th.
And that’s exactly what we did. I entered the tournament in the Recreational Doubles league with my Crokinole partner and cousin, Luke “the Dutch Touch” Van Osch. Luke’s brother Shawn and my friend Rob also entered as a team and together we took the Crokinole world by storm. At breakfast we were men. By lunch we were legends. And by the time our roast beef and mashed potato buffet supper was served, we were Crokinole gods.
At least, that’s how it played out in my head. In reality, Luke and I didn’t make it past the first round and ended up losing to a seven-year-old girl and her mother who played for the first time this past Christmas. In our defense, this wasn’t the little girl’s first World tournament and Luke and I were still shaking off the newbie jitters. With the eyes of the world watching (or at least the Mayor of Tavistock), you can imagine how nervous we were.
So, with the sound of wooden discs colliding into one another, we left the Tavistock Rec Centre with no trophy this year and went our separate ways. Me, to further my bizarre day at a demolition derby; Rob, to a friend’s wedding; Luke, to finish a school report so he could finally graduate university; and Shawn to the strip club.
But as our paths diverged we knew that in a year’s time fate would once again unite our destinies under a common and glorious purpose. To destroy our enemies. To establish a new Crokinole World Order. To crush a little girl’s dreams and leave her weeping on her hard plastic chair.
Compete on the world stage? Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.