Fresh off of my trip to Guatemala and Honduras in January, I had no expectations that I would have time to play in a Kubb Tournament in February. And I hadn't touched a baton in over a month. But enough pressure from my partner, and an offer for someone to watch my kids resulted in another opportunity for the Ringers to play some tournament kubb! The Ringers had a disappointing finish in the 2012 Loppet, throwing 5 batons at a field kubb and turning in a loss early in the bracket. But that was last year, on the grass of a golf course. This year we were on the lake, on the ice, in the cold. We came ready to play, with plenty of layers and a pump pot full of coffee.
The event was well organized and very well attended. It was a Kubb oasis in the windswept snowscape, juxtaposed with the highly urban skyline. Food trucks, beverages and bathrooms were conveniently located. I generally eat very little before and during Kubb tournaments. In a nod to a major Kubb partner, I often eat a Reallygood in the morning and another in the early afternoon. This fueled my fire for the loppet. We had a great time in the morning round robins and had a swell showing as the tournament heated up in the afternoon.
As the sun set, the partnership between Minnesota Kubb and the Loppet became very clear. The pitches were lit with giant lanterns brought in by the loppet crew. A big balcony of the beer garden provided a good view for spectators in the final round.
My dad and I made it into the final match facing the Knockerheads from Des Moines. While I truly claim no enemies in Kubb, if I needed to pick one it would be them. Because I need my enemy to be good. Really good. And push me and my dad beyond where we've been. The Knockerheads provided that push. Shoved us over, in fact. Among their feats was knocking five down in their opening turn and tossing the sixth baton across the pitch. We came back eliminating a few in their back line, but the game was over quickly, as well as the match. I wouldn't have wanted to lose to anyone else that day.
This tournament also proved to be a turning point in my Kubb career. A cash prize for second place helped pay for gas and registration! Never have I been payed to play kubb like that.