Thursday, July 18, 2019

Player Spotlight - Stuart Foster

I've been trying to remember the first time I saw or met Stuart Foster and I really can't nail down the exact moment. I'm pretty sure I heard him at my first Signature Event in Mesquite back in late Summer or early Fall of 2015 and I suppose my very first time to actually be around him was that same year when I joined the Forney League at the River Club. I eventually got to know him and man, what a player. Foster, who doesn't lack confidence is one of the top players in TCL and somewhat jokingly proclaims himself as "Number 1 in the world". Stuart is a fun loving guy when off the boards and when playing he would step on your throat in a heartbeat, demonstrating a massive competitive spirit.  A year or so ago several of us went to Las Vegas to play in one of the ACL National Events and all he did was walk through several really good players to make the Main Stage for a live feed. He was smack dab in the middle of his element as Foster lives for the big moments and thrives on playing against top players. Speaking of top players, did I mention that Foster finished this most recent season as TCL's Player of the Year, a feat he has pulled off 2 previous seasons. Next time you see him just call him "Three Time"!

The 42 year old has been playing for 7 years and the fact that he has won Player of the Year 3 of those 7 seasons is pretty awesome. Stuart told me recently that initially the hardest thing for him to overcome playing cornhole was the slide shot. I was a little confused and then he told me he used to throw only airmails which explains how he can be pretty deadly with his airmail game. He added that the Las Vegas experience making it to the Main Stage was probably his favorite cornhole memory. At this event he had been throwing TCL 450's throughout the tournament and had to change when he made the broadcast because both sides weren't the same color. I'm not saying he would've won his match against Ryan Windsor if he had those 450's but I would've loved to have seen him use them.

The Forney, Tx resident says he'd like to improve on his ability to maintain his focus and deal with fatigue better when making late runs in tournaments. I'm not so sure I would want to be someone who has to deal with the wrath of a focused Stuart Foster as he can get hot and when he does, look out. His spirited and animated displays of enthusiasm are sometimes fun to watch. A healthy Foster fist pump after a great shot is a fairly common occurrence when he gets fired up.

Congratulations Stuart on a great season.

Until next time, y'all throw 'em straight!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Player Spotlight - Eddie Grinderslev

When I first started playing in Texas Cornhole League events, I soon became familiar with who the top players were. Mostly by having them crush me but nevertheless, I was finding out who they were. One of the top players that I met was a slender young guy named Eddie Grinderslev.  A few years ago, before each Texas Cornhole League Signature Event everyone had to throw a SCR which included 13 rounds of 4 bags. I got a glimpse of Eddie's score sheet and I was blown away. He had no rounds of less than a 10 and at that point I knew this guy was special.

The 28 year old Grinderslev grew up in Lexington, TX, a small town of around 1200 people just about 50 miles northeast of Austin. One of Lexington's claims to fame could be Snow's BBQ which was tabbed as the best BBQ in Texas by Texas Monthly. After the season that Eddie recently had, I would have to say he could be the most well known person from Lexington! This past season Eddie was named ACL's mid season Rookie of the Year and finished it off as the number 1 ranked ACL player in the nation. That's kind of a Big Deal folks considering he beat out many ACL blue bloods like Cody Henderson, James Baldwin, Frank Modlin and hotshot young guns like Noah Wooten, Matthew Sorrells and fellow Texas Stud Josh Groce.

The Hutto, Tx resident is a 3 time Texas Cornhole League State Singles Champion and says his favorite memory is winning his first title which allowed him to get "over the hump" which he added wasn't easy! By watching him play I can't help but notice how easy he makes it look!

Eddie not only is a superior cornhole player but a top notch person as well. The first time I approached him he was very courteous and took the time to visit with me briefly. The soft spoken Texan is a fierce competitor but off the boards he is as nice as they come. I can't think of anything negative to say about him and I doubt I know anyone who could either.

Congratulations Eddie, you've made Texas and all of us players associated with TCL very proud of you. Best of luck to you Champ as you continue your career!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 TCL Conference Tourney Observations

By now most of us have gathered our senses and caught up on some rest from the Texas Cornhole League's 9th Conference Tournament held recently in Abilene, TX. I am not so sure I can put my old self in that category as I still have lingering issues...I call it my "Cornhole Coma"! There is so much to talk about with this event I'm not so sure I know where I want to begin. I suppose I can start with Friday which had the Singles Events as well as the Women's Doubles. One thing I've noticed the past year or so is just how good everyone has become. Men, Women, it doesn't matter, everyone can flat out play it seems. If you don't throw well, there is a good chance you will be looking for your keys so you can make your way to your truck! In the Open Singles there were some early round upsets including Stuart Foster losing his 3rd round match and John Watson scoring a big 2nd round win over Johnny Seymour. In the Social Singles Chase Jackson the number 1 seed lost his 2nd round match to Sean Weatherford and Phillip Richardson the number 2 seed also lost his 2nd round match. In the Senior Singles the top 4 seeds made it to the winners bracket semis but maybe the most impressive performance may have been the run Dean Parker made. After losing his first round match to Johnny Seymour, Parker made a bag change and proceeded to win 6 straight loser bracket games to reach the finals. Christina Espinosa again won the Women's title beating Debra Odum who threw very well losing only to Espinosa. A couple of other ladies had very good runs as well including Amy Valdez and Leeann Hartline. Valdez in her first state tourney lost in the 3rd round to Debra Odum then won 4 elimination games before losing to Odum in a game that would have put her in the finals had she won. Hartline also lost to Odum early in the winners side then won 5 in a row before losing to Valdez. This was Friday folks!

Saturday was..well, Saturday. I arrived at the venue early to find the parking lot fairly full and I thought it was odd that this many players would be there this early. I soon found out that there were several...I mean several people already dressed in Renaissance type garb and others were getting dressed either in they're vehicles or putting on the final parts of their costumes outside their cars. As I walked towards the front door I saw many others in full blown musketeer outfits and medieval dresses. For a moment I thought I may have been in the wrong building but I eventually made my way to the tournament, without having any run ins with any wooden sword toting dudes or having any Knights wanting me to joust!

Saturday was mostly filled with Doubles Events along with some drop down Singles Events and ending with all the Championship matches. Mark Rubio and Eli Gonzalez had the most impressive run finishing second to Josh Groce and A J Sims in the Open Doubles. They took out several really good teams including Stuart Foster and Joe Arrington, Eddie Grinderslev and Kenneth Johnston and a hot throwing duo of Peyton Welch and Tristan Janca. In the Social Doubles Brittney Arrington and Toni Cranford made it to the winners bracket semi finals before losing to Ernest Monarca and Mitch Ryan. I'd say this would be the best finish for Arrington and Cranford in a TCL Signature Event. In the Open Singles Josh Groce beat Todd Bridgeman to get the win after losing to Bridgeman on Friday. These performances were what I'd say were the top highlights from the weekend.

Abeline provided us with many exciting moments and was once again a great host. I personally enjoyed my weekend getting to see many friends from all across the state and meeting new players as well. This was the end of the 9th TCL season and man it was a good one! Lots of new players stepping up and competing as well as all the top players who continue to get better. Have a good summer everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again soon at the next event!

Throw 'em straight y'all!