A New World & A New Tournament
What changes are in store in a (mostly) post-COVID world?!?
The Board of Directors would like to welcome the new tournament director for 2021, Charlotte Herrold. Charlotte follows in the footsteps of her fellow Peanut Gallery member, Joti Gill, who ran a successful and uncontroversial 2019 Tournament. This year is a huge one for the CBA as COVID necessitated the cancellation of the 2020 tournament. Charlotte will have her hands full as the world's bocce elite are champing at the bit to get back to the Neilson Cottage to once again compete for the title of Champion Bocce Player of the Year.
Charlotte herself is a veteran of 9 previous tournaments. Her record is less than stellar as she has only made the knockout stages once (2009) and has an overall winning precentage of .333 (7-14, -52 diff). The 2019 Krupnik Cup was not kind to her as she lost both her matches (vs Light, Fred, and vs Korczynski, Grande Alberto) and was among the first players eliminated. Still, hope springs eternal that Charlotte can successfully oversee the 12th edition of the tournament, and create a winning environment for herself.
A Message from the Commissioner
After an Unprecedented Year (TM), we are just weeks away from an equally unprecedented Krupnik Cup tournament. What makes this year's event so special, you ask? Well, aside from most of us being extremely out of practice (EOOP (pronounced E-oop)), for the first time ever the tournament is being organized by a team of experts—myself, Assistant to the Commissioner Clare Neilson, and Assistant to the Assistant to the Commissioner Colin Sharp. With three times the creative brain power paying painstaking attention to every detail, here's what you can expect to be different (A.K.A. new and improved) about this year's event: - Players will be judged on their outfits. Wild patterns, inappropriate fabrics such as pleather, eye-catching adornments (shout out to Bocce Cat) and intimidating accessories (shout out to HB Hat) are strongly encouraged. Players may or may not receive points for outfit effort. (See below note 'Winds and Whims') - Points will be deducted for racist commentary. It's 2021—no more jokes about "howling moon" and the "red man." Points will be awarded for more creative insults invented to necessarily fill this void. - New rules—the more arbitrary the better—will be invented and applied throughout the tournament based on the "winds and whims" of match refs, pending approval of the Commissioner. (N.B. the more tipsy the Commissioner gets, the more likely she is to accept insane rule requests.) - For the first time ever, a woman WILL take home the Krupnik Cup!
Signing off with the gentle touch of a woman,
Your 2021 Commish, Charlotte (A.K.A. Mrs. Pony)
The 2020 Tournament Field
This year's field is projected to be strong, but small. 4 of the 6 past champions that are still living (RIP Hoss) are in the field, and the only two who are missing are one-tournament wonder J-Hump and Mustache Ride team doctor Greg Dodge, both of whom actually suck and were lucky to win in the first place.
Overall, there are only 14 competitors scheduled to partake. Each Bocceist has played in previous tournaments so this will be the most tenured tournament ever contested.
Players to Watch
1. Ali Syed - 4x Champion and Reigning Champion.
2. A Woman - Will this finally be the year that one of the women is able to maintain the focus that the tournament requires? We have seen superlative bocce-play from many of them in the past, but they get BFT (Bocce Fatigue) quickly and still have yet to make a final.
3. Big Al Korcynski - BA finally shed the mantle of "Best to Never Win" in 2019 and followed that performance up with another finals appearance.
4. Chang - JK, JK... even though he rode a weak bracket to the finals one year he remains trash. His overall record is 11-20 with a -49 scoring differential. He will enter this year as the lowest ranked competitor in the field.
The course is shaping up to be forgiving this year. There has been enough rain that the course is primed for tight matches whether you're playing on Amy's Mound, or the Plinko Trail. The sand pile remains in front of the beach to keep wayward balls out of the lake, and to provide a canvas for high-accuracy bocce. There is also a new building that has been added. John's side-hustle, maple syrup startup "Black Donald Gold", has constructed a sugar shack behind the boat shed and adventurous players may be interested in testing uncharted territory. There is also a new wood-enclosed garden on the way to Queen's point that will change the way bocce is played on that side of the course forever.
All players in this year's tournament will be double-vaccinated and that will continue to be a requirement in the future. We at the CBA take COVID very seriously and value the health of the elite athletes that are selected to compete in the Krupnik Cup. No expense will be spared to ensure the safety of the athletes.
We will be having a consultant from Health Canada on hand to observe the tournament, and provide recommendations for any additional safety measures.
An Open Letter from Kate Sharp
S.T.P. (Smashing the Patriarchy): How women will take control of the 2021 Tournament
By K. Sharp
"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood." ~ Gloria Steinem
Since the dawn of time women have been fighting for the right to be fully human. In no space is this more evident than on the cottage bocce court. From battling for the right to play to protesting the one-sided officiating, every victory has come at a price. Fast forward to 2021 and a female commissioner, Charlotte Harrold, could finally bring this tournament into the 21st century.
To understand misogyny in sport, look no further than the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Canadian female athletes fought for the right to have postpartum exemptions and to bring breast-feeding babies to the games. Flip the coin and you can see how women are dominating the games. At the time of this article’s publication, ALL Canadian medals had been won by women with historic victories in Softball, Judo and Weightlifting. It appears that the future of sport is female.
The firm grip of the patriarchy is loosening in international competition, but will the women of cottage bocce be able to escape its grasp so close to home? Banned from competition in the inaugural year, women demanded representation in 2009. Mel Goulet was the first to crack the glass ceiling in 2011 with her semi-final appearance. The introduction of the opening ceremonies in 2016 gave Kate Sharp the opportunity to rattle her opponent, leveling the playing field for an easy victory over Jeremy Barker in the first round. It is only a matter of time until the cracks in the foundation of cottage bocce lead to full-scale destruction.
Like the separation of pangea, the creation of a just and equitable bocce tournament may take several lifetimes to achieve. The seeds were planted in 2019 when a woman was elected to the position of commissioner. Even with the odds stacked against her, Joti Light organized the best bocce tournament of all time. Many leaders in the organization began to look deep within themselves. Could this be the beginning of the end to toxic masculinity in bocce?
The sports world has been rocked by the pandemic, with a renewed interest in human empathy for mental health over performance. In the words of the G.O.A.T., Simone Biles, “At the end of the day, we’re human too. So we need to protect our mind and our body, rather than just be out there and do what the world wants us to do.” For women around the world this is not new. We are constantly battling expectations that have been thrust upon us by societal norms. Luckily for the women of cottage bocce, we have our bocce cat sisterhood to carry us through adversity to ultimate victory in 2021.
1. Michael Korczynski is serving the second year of his 8 year ban for attending a rival cottage. He will not be missed.