The 2012 World Crokinole Championships are gone, but they have left a lasting impression. Every year since I first attended the tournament in 2005 I have taken something special away. Usually, it's the story of the champion.
In 2005 it was all about Bruce Hartung winning it all in his first ever trip to the World Championship. In 2006 it was Jason Beierling becoming the youngest ever singles winner, and the first to have ever been crowned as a doubles world champion and a singles world champion throughout the history of the tournament. 2007 was all about Brian Cook righting the ship in his fourth trip to the World Championship finals, finally claiming the elusive title. 2008 saw Cook win again, becoming the first to repeat as world champ since Joe Fulop in 2001 and 2002, but it also saw the Beierling brothers win the doubles title for the fourth time, surpassing every other individual in number of doubles titles and putting Jason and Ray, first and second for overall number of world titles (not including 20's). 2009 had Brian Cook tie Joe Fulop's all-time record of 3 world singles titles (albeit at my expense). 2010 had Justin Slater dash Cook's hopes of overtaking Fulop in the record books, while he became the youngest singles champion at 17, and the Beierling brothers won the doubles title for an unprecedented 4th straight time. In 2011 it was all about Ray Beierling winning the singles title in his 13th attempt, silencing anyone who used to refer to him as "the best player in the game never to win the singles world championship."
But 2012 is different. Many years from now the story won't just be about Jon Conrad becoming the first man ever to win the doubles and singles events in the same day (making the day about 14 hours long). And it won't just be about Justin Slater scoring 142 20's in the preliminary round, while finishing in second place behind Conrad in both the doubles and singles events. And it also won't solely be about Brian Cook's ridiculous streak of 8 straight trips to the world finals coming to an end (maybe he should be nicknamed the "Great 8"). There were several fantastic performances, not to mention the Cues division where Lorraine Proud cleaned up once again.
But the 2012 WCC will be remembered for pushing the envelope, and extending the game into unchartered territories. For a long time the 108 20's scored by Jarmo Puiras in 2004 stood alone, only to be challenged by the very best players from BC and PEI during their provincial championships. People often wondered when the height of 108 20's would be reached again at the WCC. Then Justin Slater obliterated the record with 142, and now people wonder if anything close to 142 will be reached again. (Editor's Note: Although the 142 mark was generally considered the world record, research in later years revealed Brian Cook had set a higher 20s mark in 2011 with an average of 153.3 20s over 10 games.
When Joe Fulop's health became an issue in 2003, many wondered who would step up to dominate the WCC, and take the place of the 3-time finalist and 2-time champion. But in 2004 he triumphantly returned to the winners circle for the third time, rather fittingly, against Brian Cook. What followed was Cook's dominance of the world championship, claiming one of the two spots in the singles finals for 8 years. At some point it seemed as though the streak would never end for Cook, but now that it has, it's hard not to see this streak lasting well into the future.
And the fact that it took 14 years of the World Championships for a man to win the doubles and singles titles on the same day is kind of surprising, considering many of the best singles players also enjoy great doubles success. But when you have experienced the feeling of going through the playoff rounds in both the doubles and singles categories, you realize how grueling of a day it can be. To date, only 3 men hold singles and doubles world championship titles (Jon Conrad, Jason Beierling, and Ray Beierling), and that is because there is a big difference between making the playoffs and winning the world title. At these World Championships, Jon Conrad would have played about 8 hours of crokinole, through a 14 hour day. The mental strength required to pull off such a feat is astonishing. Even more than that, Jon Conrad almost won the "Triple Crown" as he finished 2nd in the 20's category. So for players that wanted to be the first to win the "Crokinole Double" they still have the opportunity to be the first winner of the "Crokinole Triple Crown".
A monumental year at the 2012 World Championships that sets the stage for the remainder of the 2012-2013 National Crokinole Association Tour.
But if you want to relive the 2012 World Crokinole Championships, visit CrokinoleCentre's YouTube page for playoff action from the Doubles and Singles competition.