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2020 - The Year in Review

posted Jan 1, 2021, 7:07 AM by Boston Cornhole
Boston Marathon Charity Tournament - February 2020

Welcome to Boston Cornhole, we run tournaments in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  That's a very fitting tagline for an anything but normal 2020.  While my odometer probably is not impressive enough to rename myself after a natural disaster, ironically, I have probably played more and personally run more tournaments in 2020 than past years.  The Boston Cornhole 10th Anniversary quietly came and gone in November.  While things have changed over the past decade, the hustle is still there and after navigating our way through 2020, I think the future is pretty bright.  Below are some highlights from a year that we will not soon forget.

A Return to Competitive Cornhole

With the corporate market killed by the pandemic, Boston Cornhole adapted and re-entered the competitive world of cornhole....nice story, but not exactly true.  I have a pic from the first hour of 2020 with Chantha Luk.  Even before the shit show started in March, the goal was to return to hosting competitive cornhole at the top level.  This past August, the decision was made to return to the ACO  For Season 16.  Fast forward to the last day of the year and in New England over the past four months, we have offered 16 opportunities to earn ACO Regional points and we have 100+ ACO members spread across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island for the current season.  Check that box!  At Boston Cornhole, we run tournaments!

Another advantage of competing in the Northeast again is that I get so see some of my favorite people from my favorite sororities.  A big thanks to the Rice Baggers for continuing to support Boston Cornhole.  Several Doghouse Cornhole members also purchased ACO memberships right from the start.  And I am now better acquainted with Wanted!  Head a bit south and John Moran, Ocean State Cornhole, and Boundary Kitchen & Bar are giving a HOLE lot of support in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.

While I still do not think cornhole has arrived as a professional sport, if you want to top podiums in New England, you have to play and practice like a professional.   The winners of today play and practice every day.  While there may not be much monetary reward for greatness, talent and dedication does not go unnoticed.

Welcome to the Granite State

As spring turned to summer, my social distancing began to wane a bit.  To be honest, I was still enjoying not running tournaments, but missed the human interaction.  Ah, Hudson, NH isn't too far, let's check it out.  Of course I was familiar with the guys who run 603 and Skull It, but not with the folklore masses that play with these groups.  After a few Skull It Wednesdays, I was like wow, this is pretty cool and most of these players are almost as good as I am.  Shortly thereafter, I played a Friday night with Cornstars meeting April and Mike for the first time and they could not have been more welcoming.  Suddenly, I felt a little bad that I had so much Schadenfreude when the Old Man in the Mountain's face fell off!

If I am going to travel to NH to play, why not run tournaments there too?  As luck would have it, the Hole Bros, Bob and Rodney had Monday nights at Game Changer open...I'll take it!  As many of you know, this bar is like heaven to cornhole players.  Well, with boards, tablets and TV screens, it's set up pretty well for tournament directors too!  Stay tuned for bigger and better events north of the border!

COVID-19

We cannot address 2020 without a discussion of the pandemic.  And this is difficult because I have several opinions on the topic, but they are just that; right or wrong.  Therefore, maybe just briefly touch on a few cornhole-related things that I have noticed...

The pandemic has brought out the best in people...

The New England cornhole world is a microcosm of the real world with COVID-19 spikes hitting a few communities.  And just like the statistics reported daily, most had mild symptoms, some struggled, and recently, Eric Kohberger succumbed to the virus.  I only met Eric once at a Woohole Halloween tournament.  I warmed up with him and we won our match together when paired in Switcholio.  Polite and enthusiastic is what I remember.  He was also aptly dressed as the Rockstar that I now hear he was.  While nothing can fill the void that Eric's family is currently feeling, the love and generosity shown by the cornhole community is very precious and moving.  With a huge assist from the Dogcast guys, the local cornhole communities raised over $7K for Eric's family in just a few days.  Wow.

Don't let the pandemic bring out the worst in you...

There is so much we do not know about this virus, but one thing that is certain is that the virus does not know if it's Woohole, Boston Cornhole, Skull It, or Cornstars running tournaments in NH.  Regardless of who's holding the bracket, there is a risk.  Therefore, if you are only going to criticize one of these groups for hosting events, I reckon safety is not your motivation.  Likewise, if you have played unmasked during the pandemic, selectively questioning the mask protocol of other groups seems a bit petty and phony.  Please just be kind.  None of us want to host a super spreader tournament, nor infect a single person.  In most cases, players and directors follow safety protocols to reduce, but not eliminate risk.  But, we are human and may let our guards and masks down from time to time.

Not all heroes wear capes, some run tournaments...

Okay, perhaps there's some hyperbole there, but if f you are a small business owner, especially in the restaurant industry, then you know by now that the cavalry isn't coming.  However, maybe we are!  If we can find a way to stay within state guidelines to help restaurants and bars in this challenging time, then put us down for a reservation of 20-40!