The American Cribbage Congress

For most of my life, I had no idea organized and competitive cribbage existed. I played with my family, I played with my friends, I learned to count 15-2, 15-4, and so on and so forth.

A few years ago, I first became aware of the American Cribbage Congress and my local club, the Twin City Peggers. I had just been accepted to Hamline University, and thought a nonfiction article or assignment might be gleaned from the goings-on of the local grassroots cribbage league. I took a few notes, asked a few questions, went on my way. Between a day job and grad school, my scribblings grew stale in a small wire-bound notebook.

 

In September 2010, I took a renewed interest in cribbage as sport. I had played tennis in a summer league, but after a back injury was unable to volley, run, or do much of anything else. More than anything else, though, I wanted to do something different in my sparse spare time, something I’d never done before. So cribbage it was. I paid my ACC dues, subscribed to Cribbage World Magazine, and took a seat at the St. Anthony conference room in the Kelly Inn of St. Paul. I was mentally ready, physically prepared, armed with a few years’ experience, a scruffy beard, and a scuffed sun-stained and sweat-soaked Minnesota Twins hat. “Ready to go,” I announced to nobody in particular.

Well, I was late. “League starts at 7:00,” I was told by Dan Taylor, the Peggers’ local rep. It was 7:30. Damn. So much for first impressions. Since then, though, I’ve discovered a highly organized local, regional, and national league populated by a group of people as colorful and curious as the cribbage boards that exist around the world. Inspired by the people around me and my own history with the game, it soon became evident an article is not enough. To document the scope, variety, and traditions of cribbage is a book-length project. So here we are.

Thus far, the people and organizations I’ve contacted have been overwhelmingly generous with their time and ebullient in their responses regarding this beloved game. I’ve spoken to artists from the suburbs of Minnesota to the forests of Washington State. I’ve heard from ice sculptors, recording artists, videographers, retired Armed Forces personnel, and more. And underneath it all has been the ACC, and in particular, the Twin City Peggers. I recently announced the project, and afterward was met with benevolent enthusiasm from Todd Schaefer, ACC Executive Vice President, and Diane Waite, Webmaster (as to everyone else, I’ve no idea. My own record of grassroots play certainly does not inspire confidence, and I heard cheers and jeers, including someone lamenting “I don’t want to go to jail!”).  Poor records and jailbirds aside, the ACC has graciously linked to this site from the ACC main links page, and I have linked to them.

So if cribbage has ever interested you, or you’d like to see just how wide and marvelous this cribbage culture is, check back soon and check back often. Leave a comment or two! Look into your local ACC clubs. I’ll be posting excerpts when possible from my own experience and the wonderful people helping me out. More to come!

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