2018 Tournament Recap
No Longer The Best to Never Win
The 2018 Tournament saw 15 participants look to secure their place in history by etching their name onto the Krupnik Cup. Only three previous champions were in the field (Ned, Syed, and Jer) as well as 3 time runner-up and "Best Player to Never Win" Big Al Korczynski. For the first time in Krupnik Cup history there were no first time players in the field which led to a competitive and controversial tourney.
The tournament was divided into 3 pools of 5 for 2018. Each pool had one former champ, and the seeding was based on an review of past performance conducted by the tournament's Director of Analytics. Despite the careful planning that went into the pools, things got out of hand quickly. There were upsets of the magnitude of Lehigh over Duke in both Pool A (Syed, Mike, Joti, Colin, Amy) and Pool B (Cyn, Jer, Chang, Char, Fred), while Pool C (Ned, BA, Kate, Cezan, Anik) went largely as expected.
Colin won Pool A, with Mike as runner-up and Syed securing a wild card slot. Chang (!!) won Pool B, with Cyn as runner-up. Ned won Pool C, with BA as runner-up and Cezan grabbing the second wild card.
An Oral History of Pool B
The tournament was marred by controversy. Uneven refereeing, poor sportsmanship and infighting were rampant. What follows represents the recollections of some of the key players.
Big Al Korczynski (BA) - The 2018 tournament started off with a very balanced field based on historical rankings.
Jeremy Barker (JB) - Given that the field was the same and I was coming off a few great years (including finally winning the thing a year prior) I was feeling very positive about my chances; though I was concerned with the Peanut Gallery booing every move I make and questioning my manhood.
Ali Syed (Syed) - I remember feeling unmotivated & uninspired.
David Neilson (Ned) - The tournament was fucked right from the beginning, not even my own wife showed up on time for the opening ceremonies.
JB - As is standard tradition, the kick off ceremony draws the attention of a few dedicated individuals. Some care more than others.
Syed - Typically, I feel butterflies a few days before the tournament. Last year, I felt numb. I think I was overconfident.
Ned - I try to add things to the tournament to keep the lower tier players invested. The opening ceremonies is part of that. It's supposed to be fun and to showcase the players' personalities. This year all it showcased was contempt.
JB - I was drawn in an opening match, for what feels like the 20th year running now. As one of the aforementioned dedicated few, I had to put the effort into wardrobe design with a solid musical number. Something worthy of the tournament itself. There's no way I'm not doing something outside the box here. Even if I don't want to, I've got to.
Ned - Even Syed wasn't prepared this year, only Jer showed the creativity the moment required.
Syed - Changer said he'd be there by 10 but he hadn't even left his fucking house by then.
Ned - We started without him, the prick.
BA - Jer’s pool was nothing but chaos. Chang showed up hours late, delaying the tournament, driving directly onto the bocce pitch interrupting games.
Ned - Who the fuck knows with that guy... he probably needed 2 more Corona cooler backpacks before he could make the drive.
Michael Hui (Chang) - I might have been late, but some things are worth waiting for... like the "Original Hotstepper" (even if Thomas was sleeping). My dancing through the sunroof of my Nissan Rogue was worth the wait alone.
JB - Everyone knows the Classic Jer Delay Technique. Employed everywhere from the bocce court to the bedroom. I take liberties - this isn't new. But it's not like I'm taking a nap. I'm engaged. I'm on the courts.
Syed - I love CJDT
JB - I'm used to kicking things off with a low-energy match where my opponent enjoys their caesar while having a side-bar chat about the values of Montessori versus raising your child in the jungle or whatever. Which is fine.
Ned - Jer flat out refused to play, everyone was 2 games in and he hadn't played at all. This wasn't CJDT, this was bocce disrespect.
JB - I've done a LOT of stupid things at the cottage. Trust me, I'm acutely aware of this fact. This wasn't one of them - any accusation of disobeying the rules is baseless.
BA - Games were being delayed, the tournament was falling behind schedule.
JB - As I recall, I don't believe anyone had played a 3rd match yet when I started hearing the comments from the upper brass.
Ned - I consulted with Syed, he was pushing a hard line and calling for a default.
BA - All eyes are now on pool B.
JB - I'm positive nobody had played a 4th game. If the tournament was over and you were waiting on me to play 3 matches? I get that. But getting DQ'd for not being the first to play a 3rd match WHILE I was reffing another game?
BA - A decision had to be made... play Chang now or default. Jer held out CJDT.
JB - Excessive and unnecessary threats were being thrown my way.
BA - Next up was Jer vs Cyn. CJDT continued, and resulted in another default. Now what was happening? No one knew, no one had seen this before.
JB - What happened next? Everyone knows that that's not right.
BA - Chang’s disregard for punctuality was benefiting him, and not Jer (who is tied for most cottage appearances with his former partner BA).
Ned - RIP Kobarsky
Ned - Jer had to be defaulted twice before he finally agreed to play Fred.
BA - Jer handily beat Fred in his opening match, too little too late.
Ned - I'm not sure if everyone was aware of what was happening. The girls were syncing up their periods on the point and there were other matches going on.
Cynthia Neilson (CN) - I drank too much. Peanut Gallery was in full effect last year.
Charlotte Herrold (CH) - I'm worried I was too drunk and don't remember anything.
Joti Gill (Joti) - I could have planned this tournament way fucking better...
CN - I remember Kate and Colin in the bushes...
Syed - Anik was having debilitating pain from having her appendix out.
Ned - We had to hide Anik's gin... I don't think it worked.
Syed - While BA and I talked about the first Bocce default due to injury, Anik stages a protest by chugging CRA. Anik pukes.
Ned - Jer threw away his final match against Char... luckily it didn't have any effect on the qualifying.
JB - Did it ruin the weekend? I mean....I don't think so. My boys are my boys and bocce is only a part of that equation. Even a few hours later, I wasn't angry. Melancholy, sure, but not mad. I was happy that Al won.
BA - I won the title the next morning. The skies opened with a light mist. I stuck to my mid-range game, got out to a big lead and followed through for my first Krupnik Cup with a 21-6 win, the largest margin of victory in Krupnik Cup history.
Chang - I've got unfinished business, I'm going to watch Rocky II before I come up this year.
JB - I've got nothing against Big Al - this isn't about him. He's a friend, and he's got a family now that he needs to consider. He's a good guy... but he didn't win Wimbledon or The US Open. He didn't win the Masters or the British Open. He won that San Jose tournament that Raonic wins every year because everyone else bailed. He won the Bell Canadian Open the week before a Major where nobody cares about showing up.
JB - I guess all there's left to do now is play. I can't remember if I'm banned this year, to be honest. If not, I'll play - I'm not driving 4.5 hours to observe.
Ned - Fuck it. I'm tired of herding these ungrateful fucks like a bunch of cats. Good luck this year Joti. I'm gonna drink and play bocce.
JB - The jovial guy who shows up to have fun - burnt shorts, novelty shirts, pretending to like someone's Kelly Clarkson entrance music? He's gone now. If the boys want serious, I'm happy to obliged. I'm there to play, to drink, to win.
The Knockout Stage
The quarter final bracket was set. At first glance it looked like Syed had another chance at a title. Colin vs Syed, playing the winner of Chang vs Cyn. But with all the tourney delays, Syed vs Colin finished under the cover of darkness and ATV light to see Colin upset the 3 time champ. Syed could never maintain control of the pallino, and when he did have control he played too safe instead of utilizing MB. Chang beat Cyn in a tight match, by combining his classic TBOG with questionable grenade-style chucks and even-more-questionable kneeling tosses. This Colin vs Chang semifinal pitting two playoff rookies against one another. On the other side of the bracket Ned advanced comfortably over Cezan. The brothers Korczynski battled ball after ball, eventually the older brother once again came out on top, and BA looked at a semifinal rematch vs Ned. Sunday morning was damp and grey, the bocce court was slick, the air was humid. Chang and Colin took the Plinko Trail in a back-and-forth match that saw, to everyone’s surprise, Chang come out on top, reaching his first finals. While all eyes were on the other semifinal, Vegas odds were that the champion would come out of this match. BA took to his comfort zone of years dominating on the no-jump court, harnessing his inner Glenn Howard, and when he took control of the pallino he started throwing FFBLs. His draw game was tight. Ned was rattled. BA had a large 11-2 lead, but then gave up a big eight banger. Now the game was on. BA rallied, went back to his bread and butter and pulled out the win. The big question was would this be his first win or the 4th runner up finish. The finals were about to begin, and new champion was to be crowned. BA played his game, got out to a big lead and followed through for his first Krupnik Cup with a 21-6 win, the largest margin of victory in Krupnik Cup history. The moniker of best player to never win a title had been shed. With a semi lake hoist/jump and the heavenly taste of krupink out of the cup, Big Al was now the 2018 Krupnik Cup Cottage Bocce Champion.