Including the 2015 end of year awards...
Showtime - 2015 Team of the Year
Larry Pigeon - 2015 Player of the Year
B.O. telling it like it is earlier in the week has inspired me to hit the blog again and look back at 2015 as well as ahead to the new year and report on all things cornhole. Apologies for not publishing the Boston Cornhole 2015 awards earlier, but an untimely bout with the coxsackie virus sort of knocked things out of whack. For starters, let's take a look at the best from 2015.....
"How to draw people to a tournament" has been discussed time and time again. Mainly these discussions have centered around big prizes and are usually driven by those who have a chance of winning or at least think they do. Last March, we partnered with the Plymouth Recreation Department and took the opposite approach. Prizes were purposely kept modest to keep the sharks at bay and more importantly, the tournament entry fee was very low. The result was 55 teams of people I have never seen before pitching bags and having fun! We did have two experienced teams battling it out in the finals as expected, but the biggest star of the night may have been the spacious Memorial Hall making the Plymouth Recreation Tournament our 2015 Tournament of the Year! We return to Plymouth for the second installment on March 12th!
For team of the year, I am going to follow the lead of Southbridge Cornhole. No, I am not going to have the organization that I run name my team as "Team of the Year". Rather, I will concur that Jose Rivera and Joe Masareth aka Showtime are indeed the 2015 Team of the Year. From January through December, a common theme has been seeing pictures of this duo pop up on Facebook in the victory pose. Small tournaments, large tournaments, local tournaments, and out of state tournaments...consistency got it done in 2015. Honorable mention goes out to the Prew/Grew combo and the Pigeon/Madden pairing as these two teams took turns hitting the winner's circle in the first half of the year.
And the 2015 Player of the Year...Larry Pigeon! Winners gonna win and that's exactly what he did more than anyone in 2015. The centerpiece of a very strong doubles team and a singles resume in 2015 that included four ACO Regional victories and runner-up in the MA State Championship. Congrats to Pigeon as he flew high above the competition in 2015. Honorable mention goes to Charles Prew. While Charlie did not have any singles victories that I know of, he won many doubles tournaments with several different partners; very impressive! And I must mention that the best singles performance of the year came from Jeff Bachand, winner of the MA ACO State Championship. If it's any consolation, facebook won't allow a "Player of the Year" profile name either!
Looking ahead to 2016, let's glance at a few areas that are sure to build on momentum established in 2015...
Mill City Cornhole
When we met Larry Pigeon in February, little did we know that he was just one of many top tier players from Lowell. Why are they so good? Because they practice and play as often as they can against whoever they can. Henry, Sam, Shorty, Lim, and Em will certainly make some noise in 2016. If you pull up to a tournament and the parking lot looks like a scene out of the Fast and the Furious, Tokyo Drift, it's gonna be a tough day at the office!
Finally, last weekend I was able to make it up to NH to see what Brian and Shon got brewing in New Hampshire at their New Year's Tournament. The Granite State turnout was amazing and there were several guys without beards from neighboring states too. I lived in the Gate City in 1998 and after being back in Nashua, I don't think anything has changed EXCEPT now they play cornhole! Seriously, the numbers in the 603 leagues would probably trump most weekly cornhole nights in New England. Cornhole is alive and well north of the border!
Our Team of the Year calls Southbridge Cornhole home, but there are more than Joe and Jose pitching bags off I-84. Similar to many organizations in New England, Southbridge Cornhole now offers leagues and they play with quality equipment.
Ocean State Cornhole
The new kids on the block in 2014 with Monday Night Tournaments at the Boundary Brewhouse, Ocean State Cornhole has expanded in 2015. All of Boston Cornhole's ACO Season XI events are held in Pawtucket. Additionally, we are platooning with the Rhodys to host monthly, competitive events such as the upcoming Fearsome Foursome!