All of the news following competitive Crokinole.

Introducing Crokinole Reference

Nathan Walsh February 13, 2022

A home for competitive crokinole records and statistics

If you were thinking, “CrokinoleCentre has really abandoned crokinole during the pandemic,” well it turns out the reality is much darker than that. I’ve actually spent a couple hundred hours over the last 2 years on a crokinole project so exceptionally trivial that I may be the only person who finds it interesting.

I recall once in high school showing an early CrokinoleCentre video to a classmate. It was met bluntly with the response of “I can understand playing crokinole, but watching people play it is incredibly lame.” In those days it was cool to use words like lame in high school. It was decidedly not cool to talk about crokinole in high school. But that didn’t stop me.

Forging full steam ahead in the face of public indifference really was the vibe CrokinoleCentre back then, and with today’s announcement I think I’ve out-done myself.

I introduce to you Crokinole Reference: A thorough and wholistic reference of competitive crokinole (aka, how I wasted my time during covid).

Crokinole Reference is a new website that intends to be a database for competitive crokinole results from all over the world, covering both the present day and the past. While you can find some past results on the World Championship site, the NCA website, and Hungarian Crokinole site, on Crokinole Reference you can find everything (well, that’s the goal anyway).

On Crokinole Reference you will find:

  • tournament results, even including head-to-head game summaries
  • player summaries, including their best performances
  • records showing the best crokinole performances of all-time and through any event
  • CrokinoleCentre rankings dating back to the year 2000. (The rankings aren’t finalized as I’m still modifying the calculation process to remove a myriad of errors. I’ll definitely put up a new blog post when those are actually fixed. Don't expect that to be anytime soon though.)

I also have some ideas for new features to add to the site in the future, but I think this initial version is a sufficient foundation.

I’m biased, but I think it’s truly a great resource for that special someone in your life who commentates crokinole matches, or who writes blogs about competitive crokinole. Feel free to do them a favour by recommending this website.

I hope those reading this will check out the site, as I’m also expecting that there are lots of errors in the database. I’d appreciate being emailed about any you may find. For example, there’s likely to be errors about the following:

  • Names. The database requires that player names be the same everytime. It seems that scorekeepers at various tournaments are required to spell some player names differently every time. Beierling spelt as Beerling, Bierling and Bearling. Miltenburg spelt as Miltenberg. Reinman spelt as Rienman and Rainmen. And that’s just the last names.
  • On the first names there was a mish-mash of Ray and Raymond. Johnanthan, Jonathan, John and Jon. Robert, Rob and Bob. William, Will, Bill and Billy. I did my best to converge the names into one consistent listing, but I know I haven’t fixed it everywhere. So please do point out errors where you find them, and please do let me know if your preferred name spelling is different than what I’ve got. Maybe it is actually supposed to be Coner Rainmen.
  • Also, sometimes people have identical or near identical names. One year at the World Championships there were two entries for David Brown. That was eventually cleared up as a data-entry error with the correct versions being David Brown and David Braun, but I can’t guarantee I’ve cleaned up all of those issues in my database. I’ve tried to separate out the cases of Bob Mader (Sr) from Rob Mader (Jr), but also can’t be certain I’ve done it correctly.

There is also one other request I have for the readers out there. I want this website to be a source of competitive crokinole history.

When I joined the competitive crokinole world in the mid-2000s I only heard about events like the Canadian Crokinole Championships, the Goderich museum event, or even the Ontario Singles Crokinole Championship. They were referenced like myths, with scarce photos and certainly no video. To those who weren’t there it’s a question whether they happened at all. To those that were there, to those whose memories confirm that it happened, they must think there’s no place to share those results. I want Crokinole Reference to be the place to definitively record that these events did happen.

So if you are sitting on results, even just partial results, from old tournaments, please consider contributing them to the database. I’ve left some instructions on the site for how you can share them so they can be displayed.

If you are interested in getting your hands on the raw data of crokinole matches and results, you can visit the CrokinoleCentre GitHub page. The spreadsheets containing all these crokinole results can be found there, along with python scripts I wrote to make the website. This would be obvious to anyone who looks at what I wrote, but I’m not a coder, so I am hesitant to share what is likely an embarrassing assembly of code. However, I thought it might be prudent to make the work available so that this history of competitive crokinole results can live on without a dependency on me.

Overall, I must say I’m very happy with the result of the website, and I’m very excited to share it with the few individuals out there who might find it interesting.

When the pandemic started I was looking for projects that would keep me sane, and that would keep me occupied. I nearly went insane with how much this project occupied my time and my mind. Beginning in April of 2020 I spent about 2 hours a week formatting results from hundreds of crokinole tournaments into a nice clean database. And starting in August of 2021 I spent 5-10 hours a week figuring out how to transform that database into a ranking system and a website. In total that’s a staggering amount of time, but it’s basically the time I’d spend playing crokinole, making crokinole videos, writing about crokinole, and sitting on crokinole committees during the pre-covid era.

Channeled into a different pursuit I wonder what else could have been accomplished in that time. Could I have learned to play an instrument? Could I have become fluent in French? Could I have trained for and ran multiple marathons? I think yes, I could have.

But in the momentary pauses of daily life, those moments spent folding laundry, washing dishes, waiting at a red light, the challenge of learning how to make this crokinole website and the excitement of seeing the finished product were all I was thinking about. At times working on this project made me feel like Ahab in search of Moby Dick. And especially in the last few weeks I was desperate to finish this project so I could get if off my mind.

I am relieved to have finished the website, but I don’t regret taking up the project or the time I spent on it. I did acquire some new html and python knowledge I didn’t have before, and at the very least I created a handy reference I can use for blogs and commentary in the future. But more so than anything, it was important to have a project like this be something to work on during Covid. The first book I read during the pandemic was Voltaire’s Candide which famously concludes with a line that translates to something like ”we must all tend our own garden” as a suggestion for how to achieve happiness and peace in an uncontrollable world. In a few hours each week, Crokinole Reference served as my own garden.

I didn’t get around to reading Moby Dick during the pandemic, and therefore probably never will, but I think my journey was the same as that protagonist. I assume he catches the fish and goes home to practice for the next crokinole tournament? That’s what I would have done . . .