Trying to take a nap the other day, I started thinking about who I think the best all-around player is right now in the USA. A few names came to mind. I then had to figure out the difference (if there is one) between "best player" and "best all-around player". I still struggle with that one, but the more I thought of my playing and spectator experiences over the past year, the list of best "all-around player" quickly dwindled, and then there were less than a handful (but with players from IA, MN, and WI), and all are top players. Then, giving it some more thought, one was standing. Now, as a disclaimer, I will say that this is over the past year. This is from the list of who I have played against and watched. But I will say there are not many (if any) that have played against more and/or watched more than myself. In addition, not everyone I have played against/watched has had the opportunity to do all these aspects of the sport.
I looked at all the major parts of the games. Inkastare, blasting, angles, eight-meters, putting up kubbs, king shots, and even their sportsmanship, as I think that is part of being a total kubber. Are the less than a handful the best at any of these? Perhaps and probably, but when it came down to the final person, I will say that I think that this person is in the top five in all of them.

I have always thought that this player had the intensity, passion, and love for the game to get to the top. In playing against this player in Dallas, his drilling really stood out, as did his blasting. Not only during the day, but also in the evening. For the inkastare and also blasting position, between Des Moines and Dallas, he went into my top five in the Country, but most will not see that in 2013, which is too bad, but it seems like he will be playing an even more difficult position, and that is thrower of batons three and four on a three-person team. Over the past two years, I have wondered how good the top players can get at eight meters. In Minneapolis, it seemed like there is fewer better than him right now, and again, it is hard for me to imagine five others out there that are better than him.   

Looking at him, I am really interested to see how the other top players in the Country improve their games and to see how the players just under them make it to the top level. What I think is really cool, is that this all taking place in four upper Midwest states. We are the US heartbeat for this game. Kubbers from all around the country look at the Midwest and wonder how they would do against the top teams and players here. That is pretty cool.

In 2013, I will be the tournament director and not playing on tournament day three times (Rockford, Eau Claire, and Dallas). In addition, if my wrist continues not to heal, I will be on the sideline walking around enjoying the day,watching kubb, finding ways to promote the game and sport, and cheering on friends and family at a couple more. If it does get better, I am hoping to make a couple trips this year to play. Regardless, I am looking forward to see how this person can improve his game even more, which pushes me at the sport level. Mostly, I am excited to see how all players improve their games, led by Chris Hodges from Des Moines, IA.