Player Profile: Joey Wood

Photo of Joey Wood.Name: Joey Wood
Age: 30
Team: The Settlers of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Sturgis, Michigan

What’s your day job?

I have the pleasure of working with kids at Battle Creek Central High School as they learn about history, government, and economics.

What do you like best about kubb?

I am a very social person. Kubb is an incredibly social game. What is better than a yard game that encourages you to play a game outside, with friends, where every game is different and everyone can contribute to the team? As much fun as I have at tournaments, I think I have more fun at friendly get togethers  where we are able to convince everyone to play Kubb at some point. Winning is fun, but the face on a “newbie” after they hit a big shot is priceless.

What’s your kubb specialty? (short, long, king, etc)

I always joke during games that any scum-sucking yahoo can inkast 9 kubbs. I am pretty sure that is why I do some of my team’s inkasting. To me, there is nothing more satisfying in than inkasting 8 or 9 kubbs really well. Over the last two years I have tinkered around with my technique and have become more consistent. After attending the U.S. Championship, it became very apparent that the difference between the very good teams and the championship caliber teams was inkasting. I would like to think that someday I could help inkast a group of 8 or 9 that could put our team in a position to win a big game at Nationals.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My favorite Kubb memories center around teaching the game to new players.  A few summers ago we were at a baby shower and set up the kubb pitch. The game was a hit as there were quite a few “newbies” who played with us. One of the newcomers was a boy who was around 8 years old. After a few group games, I challenged him to a one on one game. Lo and behold, that kid had me on the ropes the whole game and had the back row cleared with 7 in play before I finally turned the game around and won. Some would consider almost losing to someone a quarter of their age a terrible memory, but that game showed me how much fun you could have with a complete stranger playing the game of Kubb.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

I would like to throw a perfect game (even though they are not allowed in most tournaments).

Where do you see the future of kubb?

I would like to see variations of kubb take root. For example, last summer we had set up two kubb pitches next to each other (with about 2 meters in the middle). After a few games we decided it would be fun to play a game of MEGAKubb. 12 dowels, 20 kubbs, 2 kings. The rules kind of made themselves up as we went along. Throwing up on one pitch onto the other field became common. When a teammate hit a really cool field / back-line double from the opposite pitch, we all lost it. That is when I knew we were on to something really fun. I would like to see more fun variations of Kubb develop.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

I love reading non-fiction, trying to solve the worlds problems, designing (hopefully) engaging learning opportunities for teenagers, playing board games that require more strategy than luck, hanging out with friends, playing any sort of trivia game, watching or playing baseball, watching college football, running, biking, and helping people move (I like to think of my self as a packing expert).

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I have kept book on every Major League Baseball All Star Game since 1994 – a tradition that started with my father that someday I hope to share with my child.

Player Profile: Bryan Jones

Photo of Bryan Jones inkasting a kubb on the beach.Name: Bryan Jones
Age: 23
Team: Kubbing up with the Joneses

Where are you originally from?

Monroe, Mich.—south of Detroit and north of Toledo

What’s your day job?

I’m currently a substitute teacher while I look for a position as a graphic designer. I’m also a freelance graphic designer and artist.

What do you like best about kubb?

I like how easy it is to learn the basics of kubb, and how there are always new strategies and techniques to learn and practice.I also appreciate how kubb can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s great to play a game that can be shared with many generations. There also seems to be a great deal of good sportsmanship involved with kubb. Everyone I’ve played with has always been encouraging and helpful even when we are each other’s competition.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I’m not sure I have a true specialty yet, as I continue to figure out my best kubb skills. I am a lefty though, so that becomes an advantage sometimes for certain shots.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My favorite kubb memory would have to be from this past Fourth of July when I played in a Kalamazoo Kubb random draw doubles tournament. My teammate Joey Wood and I took home 1st place that day!

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

I would love to help make kubb a huge deal wherever I end up. I’d also like to improve my skills enough to help my team do well at one of the bigger tournaments someday.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

I see kubb gaining popularity as it continues to be shared in various outlets across the country. I believe social media will be a major part of spreading the greatness that is kubb.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

Other than kubb, I enjoy disc golf and bowling. I’m into making pottery, painting, and printmaking (especially using letterpress). Travel is also a huge interest and I take every chance I get to explore someplace new.

Name a fun fact about yourself.

A poster I designed called “Mitten Rewritten” can be seen on display in the Anderson House Building in Michigan’s capital, Lansing. That same poster was also purchased by the Gwen Frostic School of Art to become part of their permanent collection.

2014 in Review

Well it’s 2015 and that means it’s time to take a look back at the past year. A lot happened in 2014 for Kalamazoo Kubb.

First, and maybe most importantly, we received a Steven R. Anderson Kubb Set Grant, which allowed us to expand kubb within our group. We now had the same sets that tournaments were using so we were practicing with the right stuff. It allowed us to keep kubb sets in our trunk, ensuring there was always a set available for impromptu games. The grant really allowed us to play more kubb, with more people. Thanks, USA Kubb!

The next big event was the U.S. National Kubb Championship. It was the first time Kalamazoo Kubb had sent a team, and The Settlers of Baton made a surprisingly good run. Christopher Jones even wrote up a post on his blog recapping the tournament.

After returning from nationals, Kalamazoo Kubb started planning for the future. It was time to grow the club. A lot of wheels were put into motion, including the creation of a new identity, a more robust social presence on Twitter and Facebook and the first official Kalamazoo Kubb event.

That first event was our KUBBQ. This was a casual barbecue and kubb friendlies event in a local park. Check out our recap to learn more and see some photos.

This past year was great, and we’re looking forward to a lot of exciting things in 2015. Happy New Year!

Player Profile: Christopher Jones

Photo of Christopher Jones.Name: Christopher Jones
Age: 29
Team: The Settlers of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Monroe, Mich.—south of Detroit and north of Toledo

What’s your day job?

I’m a Webmaster at Western Michigan University. I’m also a freelance graphic and Web designer.

What do you like best about kubb?

Kubb is a unique experience each time you play it. There is plenty of strategy and in my mind, that makes it more exciting than other yard games. It’s so simple in theory, but has proven to be very challenging in practice. That said, it’s a very approachable game. I’ve seen seven year olds, 82 year olds and everyone in between play the game (quite well I might add). This approachability also extends to the people. Every kubb event I’ve been to and everyone I’ve met involved in kubb has been extremely positive. Good shots are celebrated by everyone, even your opponent. Everyone’s willing to have a chat and compare tips. That’s a rare find amongst the dog-eat-dog mentality in most of the sports world.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I’m almost always my team’s king slayer. I’m pretty consistent on hitting the king and while the pressure to hit it is quite high, that just makes knocking it over that much more rewarding.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My first tournament was the 2014 U.S. National Kubb Championship. The whole trip was an amazing experience, but the biggest highlight was being in game three against a very good team, Kubb’d, and taking it to 10 kubbs in play. We started the day hoping to win a match, and there we were, just a step away from the round of 16.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

As a player I want to make it to Sunday at Nationals. On a bigger, kubb-advocate level, I want to make kubb a big deal in Michigan.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

Ideally it becomes an Olympic sport, but in the more near term I see it growing to a wider U.S. audience. I think the pockets of kubb in Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc. will continue to snowball and soon we’ll have kubb all over the country.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

I enjoy disc golf, cool gadgets and good movies. I’m also very passionate about design and technology. When it’s the right time of year you’ll see me at Western Michigan University hockey games (I’m a season ticket holder) or watching my beloved Red Wings.

Name a fun fact about yourself.

I once spent a summer living and interning in Switzerland. If only I had known about kubb back then I could have met up with the community there. I guess I need to go back!

Kubb Holiday Gift Guide

kubb-gift-bagIt’s that time of year when you need to start checking people off your holiday gift list. So what do you get all of your friends and family? Might we recommend a kubb set? Here are a few places to pick up a set.

They don’t sell kubb sets, but you can find some cool kubb-related items like t-shirts and hats at USA Kubb’s webshop.

If you’re struggling to get the dimensions of your pitch just right, we highly recommend the Quick Pitch system from Des Moines Kubb.

Did we miss your favorite kubb gift? Let us know about it in the comments. Happy kubbing!

Player Profile: Alan Bobalik

Photo of Alan Bobalik.Name: Alan Bobalik
Age: 30
Team: The Settler’s of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Sturgis, MI

What’s your day job?

Teacher

What do you like best about kubb?

I really enjoy the camaraderie between players and teams. Even though you’re trying to beat the opposing team or individual and the games can be spirited, its always handshakes and high-fives when the games are over. Even during games an opposing player’s great shot is applauded. I really enjoy any big shot that can swing the momentum of a game and the strategy that comes into games.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I would probably describe myself as a blaster primarily with average skills in the other facets of the game. I need to get my own kubb set to take my game to the next level. I am in awe of great inkastares and 8m snipers.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

The overall experience of the 2014 kubb championship was really cool. But I would have to say my favorite memory would be the first time I ever played kubb. A friend’s dad introduced us to it at a BBQ. We definitely didn’t know or follow all the rules properly but it was clear from that first time playing that kubb was a game that was captivating in a way unlike other yard games. There was more to it than cornhole or ladder golf, it was an actual game of skill and strategy that could still be played with minimal physical activity that didn’t require me to wear shoes!

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

Win a game of Megakubb! Also we made the final 32 at the 2014 championships, it would be neat to make the final 16 in 2015.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

Though it seems like the popularity is growing steadily, there is probably a ceiling as far as how widespread the game will become due to the fact that it requires a little more focus/skill/sobriety than cornhole and other yard games. I do think that once you get introduced to the game its very easy to become extremely passionate about it, so even if the number of players remains relatively small, it will be a very active community of kubb players.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

Teaching, reading, running, traveling, regularly having over a dozen browser tabs open, preparing for the birth of twins.

Name a fun fact about yourself.

I sit down when I put pants on so I can put both legs on at the same time, that way when someone says “we all put our pants on one leg at a time” I say “not me!”