2016 Year in Review
As we close out the year, it's time for Boston Cornhole's year end recap and awards. Let's face it, these top honors are determined by a party of one and do not really mean anything. Nonetheless, there are some who do care about my opinions and that's a bit flattering. Let's kick things off with an edition of "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" as we take a look back at 2016.
Corporate events, fundraisers, and everything in between made for a cornhole-filled 2016! This would not be possible without my "team of the year" headlined by right-hand man, John Moran. Shane O'Hara also joined the ranks this year. A big thanks to these two for helping cash some checks! On the equipment side, McKinnon Cornhole Boards was joined by Epic Boards this year in providing all the lumber we would need and then some. And for the bags, it's been All Cornhole all the way!
And of course, there is plenty of cornhole outside of Boston Cornhole. Weekly events pepper the Bay State, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire. This is good to see and great for the game! Additionally, all the cornhole builders I know were busy throughout the year. I believe I may have also seen a post or two thousand that Dunkin Donuts had ordered some boards...once again, it's all good!
Another highlight of 2016 was the introduction of some new formats with the Fearsome Foursome and the Triple Threat Throwdown. In hindsight, with teams from five different states, the Foursome was one of the best tournaments of the year. The Triple Threat Throwdown also added a twist, but the turnout was disappointing (probably due to the low payouts). Nontheless, if you like to pitch bags all day long, these tournaments were more than accommodating. And for the format, the last match of the Foursome's preliminary rounds determined if a team would advance or not...and the Triple Threat Throwdown ended with a walk-off four-bagger! Finally, some good cornhole drama!
Not everything goes as planned. The New England Cornhole Series in the first half of the year was a sincere attempt at trying to showcase the best talent from several area groups with the hope of a champions finale culminating at the New Hampshire International Speedway. NASCAR, tailgating, and cornhole...what could be better!? Apparently, just about everything. The Miracle Mile Championships were the perfect disaster and a fitting end to the unsuccessful New England Cornhole Series. For the groups and players that supported the NECS, I am grateful and appreciative. I apologize to those whose expectations could not be met; especially to Sarge & Tammy, Sean & Beth, Pic, and Spinella who had invested a weekend camping trip to NH.
Runner-up in the disappointments category has to be Rocky Woods. The area's competitive players clamored for a tournament with big payouts. Without a charity receiving part of the purse and coolers allowed, this was sure to be a can't miss event, right? Not exactly. Without a sponsor, high entry fees were required to support big payouts. While there are several competitive players in the area, teams that can reach the podium are limited. The $80/team price tag was too high for most who knew that they only had a marginal chance of finishing in the money. Couple that with some of the better teams heading to a pop-up tournament in NH and the result was a disappointing event. Nonetheless, some lessons were learned. Lesson one: cater to a wide audience with low entry fees. When sponsors arrive, so will the big purses. Until then, unlucky! Lesson two: some (not all) players not only want big payouts, but they want big, easy payouts! Exhibit A: Rocky Woods. Exhibit B: The NYS Championships in Syracuse. CNY Cornhole offered by far the largest payouts in the Northeast and not a single New England player made the relatively short trip to challenge some of the country's best tossers. Just calling it how I see it, but I get it and remember, I ain't mad at cha!
From a cornhole perspective, the answer to Rodney King's infamous question is a definitive NO! The lowlights from 2016 can be summed up with a single word...DRAMA. From my meltdown at MIT, a near parking lot brawl in Bridgewater, a fake email (yeah, you read that correctly) and facebook spats sprinkled in between, there has been plenty of ugliness in 2016 that has turned friends into foes. And it's just not New England, let's not forget the ACO Major in Florida that was overshadowed by jersey-gate! How can this game that we all enjoy to play also take us to the brink so often? In 2017, I can at least strive to be more like our admirable First Lady, but I make no promises...