CQC Ramblings


 IN SEARCH OF A ROLLER

   Iíve been playing quoits, in some form, for over thirty-five years. The games were originally played on playgrounds or in the neighboring woods. It was an inexpensive form of entertainment for fifteen year olds as long as someoneís parents  had a set of quoits. We would pitch to a hub inside an ever-widening hole in the hard ground. We would play for hours and some of us got very good at throwing these steel rings. Some of our parents were playing organized quoits in the local church leagues. The conditions were much different with the landing area being clay, which was bountiful in the area. These folks planted the seed for what would become quoiting in the new millennium. Who knew that these quoits were unique to this area and the majority of Americans had no idea what a quoit was.

 

   There seemed to be a lull towards the end of the century, at least for me. Iím sure people were still pitching throughout the eighties and nineties, but you didnít hear about it that much. There was the company picnic or family reunion that would produce a pitching event, but not that many organized clubs. Perhaps itís because of the information super high-way that has sparked a rise in the interest of our sport. The internet has been huge in getting the word out about quoiting and where these people can be found. I canít tell you how many e-mails Iíve received as a result of our web site. People from all over the country and internationally have contacted me with kind words and news about the game of quoits.

 

   Seven years ago, my neighbor Mark Prekop and I put together the first form of what would become the Colonial Quoit club. We had all played in the past and we decided the clay was the way. We put in some pits and invited all of our friends to join us on Friday nights. We had all types of players from practiced and skilled players to recreational folks who had a quoit in one hand and a beer in the other, but generally speaking, we were all about equal. Over the years, the club evolved with stats being recorded and individual skills in black and white on the club web site. Some of the players may have felt embarrassed about their stats or simply didnít like the increasing competitive atmosphere that was developing. There was a constant state of flux as new and more skillful players came into the club. Some old friends went by the wayside. For me it was bittersweet. I welcomed the surge in talent but missed the friends that didnít return to play.

 

   Itís seven years later and the club has settled into a core group of around eighteen players that come every week and a few part timers who canít always make it due to personal commitments or family responsibilities. The core group is a strong field of very good players. The talent level is at an all time high. Players have an arsenal of shots in their bags with one type of pitch no longer being enough to be competitive. First there are the Tobys. These folks like the softer conditions and attempt to stab the front of the nub and allow the forward momentum to topple the quoit over for a ringer. Next, there are Kickers. These folks like to find a landing area, usually behind hub, and land an angled quoit perpendicular to the hub line and have the quoit kick forward onto the hub. The majority of players try to land the quoit to the back left of the hub (for right handers) and have the quoit spin slightly forward and to the right, and grab onto the hub. A few pitchers prefer the flat route. It is pitching in itís simplest form, keep it level and flat, get the distance right and drop it cleanly on. This is increasingly more difficult as the condition hardens. The tobys also have a harder time with the harder pits as it is difficult for the quoit to hold the front of the hub without some resistance provided by soft clay. When the kickers try their shot on tacky pits, their quoit simply sticks end up in the soft bed and wonít go back to the hub. Suffice to say, there are many different ways to achieve the same goal, the ringer.

 

 

 

This brings me to that sometimes infuriating, sometimes lucky and always beautiful shot, the roller. When I first started pitching in the dirt, a roller happened by accident. These days, players have taken it to a new level on the clay. If you donít have more than one or two shots in your bag, you are at the mercy of the quoit mechanic. The roller is the ace-in-the hole. It can pull you out of the toughest position. It breaks the will of the player who put a double ringer on the hub only to see a spinning quoit strike the clay long and left reverse its spin, encircle the pit, and land gently on top of the pile for a cap. People would scoff and say ďlucky shotĒ, ďyou canít do that againĒ. They would be wrong. It is an art form and a throw that you must learn or attempt to learn if you want to stay competitive. When the conditions are very soft, it becomes a challenge to get the quoit to release and the roller can be ineffective. However, on properly maintained surfaces, you should be able to use the full spectrum of throws and that is what I aspire to achieve when grooming the pits for play at the CQC. More and more of our players have come to the same conclusion. You gotta have a roll, baby! When the hub is surrounded by metal, players trying for a point will strike the played quoits and bounce harmlessly away. Thatís where the roll comes into play. You pitch away from the played quoits and roll around and drop on the hub avoiding the lack of friction caused by the full metal jacket.

 

   Iím no expert with the roller, but I have come to realize its potential by incorporating this shot into my repertoire. It is a work in progress and getting better with practice. Iíve seen many other players expanding their game and attempting shots that they didnít previously have and the roller is high on that list. There are no easy games in our club any more and this yearís playoff tournament is a prime example of that. It is our strongest field ever. We will be taking our best ten players to the Tavern Quoit Championships in Columbus on Sept. 22. Their surfaces are on the tacky side so the roller may not be a principle throw. By the end of the day, however, donít be surprised to see a few points stolen by a well-played roller.

 

 

 

 

 
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Walter Lukasewycz
Colonial Quoit Web Designer
revised 4/17/05