By Greta Schleif – [email protected]du
Cribbage is a game of skill, luck, friends and beer. It’s also a game that brings together Bennies and Johnnies of all ages at the annual Twin Cities BoDiddley Classic Cribbage Tournament.
This year’s tournament will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Jax Café in Minneapolis. It will be the 43rd annual tournament.
The idea was started by Johnnie alumnus and BoDiddley’s owner John “Bo” Forsythe and his friends.
“When I was a senior, we all claimed to be the best cribbage player on campus,” Forsythe said “but never actually had a tournament to decide that.”
Forsythe and his friends decided to organize a tournament in the spring of their senior year.
“We had eight teams, 16 players. We got a keg of beer and named it the Peg and Keg Cribbage Tournament,” Forsythe said.
After that, Forsythe stuck around the St. Joseph area and the next year invited his friends back for a cribbage tournament. Everyone came.
Soon more people wanted to participate.
When Forsythe opened BoDiddley’s in 1981 they held the tournament there for a couple of years, and eventually moved it across to the LaPlayette because they needed more space.
Every year the same people would come back and more would join.
“The thing I like about the game is it’s a social game,” Forsythe said “And it’s also a game that’s about 78 percent luck. You could be the best cribbage player in the world but if you don’t get the cards, you’re going to get beat.”
They used to hold the tournament in February, but a couple of years ago people in Forsythe’s original group started to retire and would go south for the winter. They suggested he push the tournament back.
This opened an opportunity for a larger tournament to still be held in February for Bennies and Johnnies. Forsythe worked with Alumni Relations at St. John’s to put together the tournament in the Twin Cities.
It is now held at Jax Café, which is owned by ’91 Johnnie grad Bill Kozlak.
“It’s intergenerational. The oldest alum to play in his 80s, and then the youngest, well actually one fella is still in high school, but he’s going to St. John’s next year,” Forsythe said.
The team lineup for this year’s tournament ranges from Bennie/Johnnie graduates from the class of 1962 to current students.
The tournament is another CSB/SJU tradition that brings together Bennies and Johnnies of all ages to see if that “78 percent luck” is in their favor that day. Anticipation is already building to see who the winning team will be on Feb. 25.
Feature photo courtesy of BoDiddley’s