The Meatgrinder. Des Moines, IA. 32 teams. Swiss System. You call it the Klassic. I will continue to call it The Meatgrinder. I am not sure what it is like to play in it if you are not aiming for a quarterfinal placement, but for me, the juices are flowing early, and I like that. For the second year in a row, the team I was on had the toughest schedule, and I wouldn't want it any other way. That is why I travel five plus hours to play kubb. We travelled with Team Kubboom from Eau Claire to the tournament, which was a blast. Watching them grow over the past few months has been really fun and has given me more energy for this game and sport as well. While we were in the Final, having them watch gave us even more energy. After winning the tournament and when I picked up that trophy, I didn't want to let it go.

Sweden's Sons was going to be a two person team, then went to a three person team with Dave Ellringer, then the day before, I ended up finalizing my team with just Dave Ellringer from The Ringers. Perhaps we should have called ourselves Sweden's Ringers. However, being a tournament organizer myself, I didn't want to mess anything up for the organizers of The Meatgrinder. Dave and I molded perfectly. His eight meters is rock solid. I would throw first and try to get him at eight meters as quickly as possible. Sometimes, we would mix it up a little, as he has a good angle shot for four meters.

Some thoughts about the tournament. The terrain was challenging for kubb tossing during the round-robin format. As someone that really enjoys doing it, it ended up being more of a test just to make sure you did not make any big mistakes as opposed to being an artist. Although the pitches on the western side of the field were less challenging. Not sure if that benefited us or not, but it sure mixed things up for us. Once we moved down to the quarterfinals pitches, I was able to focus on working the kubbs in directions that I wanted (and be an artist with a boxer's mentality), which was a lot of fun. That is why you practice, to be able to toss kubbs and have them do what you are hoping you want them to do. Plus, the tournament director and 2011 U.S. Champion Josh Feathers (2012 Bästa Inkastare) decided to sit down next to our pitch for awhile, so business had to pick up as well.

Back in the 2012 Kubbnation Magazine, I wrote that I like the fact that we have unique tournaments and that it will be interesting to see how they grow. I believe it even more now. There are so many different options out there.

Some of highlights of the day.
- I counted well over 20 female players. Awesome sight to see. It seems tournaments are getting more female participants, which is great.
- Playing Los Padres in Match #2. Great energy. Constant picture taking from Becca. That is why I travel to Des Moines. I love being in the ring with people like Chris and Grant. 
- Seeing the improvement of Goofy Kubbers. Their inkastare Evan has stepped it up big time and will go back and forth with anyone, anytime. We played in the round robin and had a tie in the third game when time was called. In the Final, we had eight, nine, and then ten kubbs going back and forth. We had ten first, and we knew we had to win it then/there. If not, we knew the game was over.
- Chaska Kubb had three teams in the quarterfinals. Great job for them. We played two of their teams and really enjoyed it.
- Seeing Team Kubboom playing in the quarterfinals. Great experience for them.
- I really loved our quarterfinal match. Playing against Phil and Jeremiah was great. We played for around one hour and 45 minutes. I love the way they approach the game. After I tossed the kubbs, they look at raising them as a real strategic part of the game, and it is fun to watch them do it. Then, Dave and I go up and figure out where to hit what kubbs. It makes the game so much more fun. I remember telling them after the game that I loved playing against them and that I fell in love with their team.
- Speaking of the short kubbs. Last year at this time, I was really bad at the short game. Sure, I could hit a kubb, but everything that I have learned, tried, got better at, simply I didn't know what I was doing before. I really enjoy that part of the game now. I look at those kubbs so different now, both horizontally and vertically. I look at it as the inkast of batons. Playing in DM gave me even more energy to learn and practice more on those throws. I can honestly say that I am not the same short game player as I was last year at this time, or even earlier in the year, or perhaps I was getting lucky in DM. Regardless, that is another example at how many different variables there are in this amazing game.

I could go on, but I should save some things for future blog posts.

Thanks again Des Moines Kubb. I can speak for Dave, Team Kubboom, and myself, we had a great time. Keep up the good work.