Activity to count on

Negaunee Senior Center holds monthly cribbage tournaments

Virginia Laforest competes in a cribbage tournament held at the Negaunee Senior Center Tuesday afternoon. The Negaunee Senior Center, located along Jackson Street in Negaunee, holds monthly cribbage tournaments, as well as weekly “drop-in” cribbage sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

NEGAUNEE — The Negaunee Senior Center was filled with the sights and sounds of friendly competition Tuesday afternoon as the center’s monthly cribbage tournament was underway.

“Once a month, we have a cribbage tournament here at the senior center, where you can come with your own partner,” said John Basolo, who participates in and helps to organize the cribbage tournaments, as well as the weekly “drop-in” cribbage sessions at the center.

Basolo and Mike Starrine, participant in Tuesday’s tournament and president of the Negaunee Cribbage League, explained that players draw to determine which numbered table they’ll begin the tournament at — then the groups of doubles teams play three games at their starting table, with the winner of two out of three games remaining at the starting table. Participants play four sets of three games before a winner is determined.

The cribbage tournament, while competitive, also offers participants a chance to have fun while spending time with others who enjoy the game.

“It’s a game, there’s strategy and there’s fun — the thing that we notice about this cribbage group, when you walk in here, you always know that they’re having a good time,” said Negaunee Senior Center Director Kristy Basolo-Malmsten, noting “you always can tell when they’re here, because there’s a certain boisterous or joy in the air when they’re here, it’s a good crew, a good group of people.”

A cribbage board in use during the Negaunee Senior Center’s cribbage tournament Tuesday afternoon. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

In addition to the monthly tournaments, which are held the last Tuesday of each month at 12:30 p.m., with pre-registration required, the center also offers drop-in cribbage at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, with players encouraged to arrive by 12:30 p.m., as partners will be drawn randomly.

“You don’t know who your partners going to be, which is really neat, because then they get to learn about and meet different people,” Basolo-Malmsten said.

These “drop-in” cribbage events give players a chance to have fun and meet others, all while learning, improving or maintaining their cribbage skills.

Organizers said people of all skill levels are welcome to join drop-in cribbage and enjoy the fun — players of all skill levels attend the sessions.

For those who might feel a little rusty, there are many experienced players who are willing to offer guidance.

From left, Jodi Dillman and Gert Cevigney play a game of cribbage with their doubles partners during the Negaunee Senior Center’s cribbage tournament Tuesday afternoon. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

“If they haven’t played in awhile, it’s still worth coming on down,” Basolo-Malmsten said. “If they want a refresher, there’s some of the guys that are happy to have them sit over their shoulder and relearn how to play cribbage.”

Basolo and Starrine said they enjoy the opportunity to play cribbage regularly, spending time with others who enjoy the game and keeping their cribbage skills sharp.

Organizers said attendees enjoy the competitive aspect of playing cribbage, but the most important thing is to have fun while enjoy the company of others.

“We are always looking at activities that people are comfortable with that will get them out to socialize and I think that’s an important part of what the cribbage groups do — is that it keeps people interacting, they enjoy playing the game and that’s why the come, but more importantly, they’re interacting with other people in a shared experience,” Basolo-Malmsten said.

Many people lend a helping hand to make the weekly cribbage games and monthly tournaments possible.

“Bob Hooker helps, he stets up all the tables, Gert and Irene Cevigney, they also help — if I’m not here or Bob’s not here, people jump in to help,” Basolo said.

Basolo-Malmsten said this is evidence of how much people care about and enjoy the cribbage games.

“We never have a hard time finding volunteers to keep this going,” she said, noting “someone always steps up and that tells me it’s an important and worthwhile thing.”

For some players, cribbage is a way of life, as they play several times a week in various cribbage leagues.

“I play Monday nights, Wednesday nights, Thursday nights and if there’s a $20 cribbage tournament on a Saturday in Marquette County, I’m there, so it’s about four nights a week or five nights a week. sometimes I play,” Starrine said.

In addition to cribbage at the Negaunee Senior Center, other organizations and leagues that offer cribbage opportunities include: the Ishpeming Senior Center, the Negaunee Eagles Club, the Ishpeming Elks and local cribbage leagues, such as the Negaunee Cribbage League and the Grass Roots Cribbage League offer opportunities to play cribbage in the Ishpeming/Negaunee area.

“Between the leagues and the drop-in at the Eagles club, us, the Ishpeming Senior center, the Ishpeming Elks, there’s somewhere to go almost every day,” Basolo-Malmsten said.

The Negaunee Senior Center will be holding a cribbage tournament July 10 during Pioneer Days. Registration by July 6 is required to participate. To register for this event, or for more information about cribbage and other programming offered by the Negaunee Senior Center, call the center at (906)475-6266.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.