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eCribbage Newsletter #8

The Story behind the Tattoo
The Crib ?Purist
RIP Williwaw
Bits and pieces
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June, 2011 - Written by Damien Blond
The Story Behind the Tattoo

My name is Robyn, but I am known to the e-crib world as Freespirit.

I have desired to get a tattoo of a robin for as long as I can remember. For the past 5 years I've pushed myself to get it done, but I wasn't comfortable with the design. Something was missing and I was not going to put something on my wrist until I was sure I could live with it.

On September 5, 2010, I signed onto e-crib on a whim and created an avatar without so much as a thought to what it would later come to represent. I immediately met some wonderful people who welcomed me to the site. In the months that followed I have formed some life long friends. We have shared laughs, sorrow, hopes & dreams, all while having fun and playing crib. E-crib is family. It's the first thing I do when I get up in the morning and it's the last thing I do before going to bed. When life gets you down there's always a friend online to lift you back up.

One day I was having a heart-to-heart about life with one of my  e-crib friends. He asked me what my name meant. I paused, laughed, and said, "I had never really given it much thought." It was the first thing that popped into my head when creating my identity. But If I had to explain what it has come to mean to me since joining e-crib it would be this:

The past can't be changed, so leave it be! The future is undetermined, so dream big! And today is a gift, so embrace it for all it's worth!

Getting my tattoo

A few days later it dawned on me--this was the missing piece to the tattoo, who I was and how I live my life. I have always walked a different path and taken the road less travelled. It hasn't always resulted in the best decisions.  I march to the beat of a different drum, leaving people guessing. My battle cry is obvious to those who know me:  Living Life My Way.  I believe I have found myself.

On May 4th, 2011, I tattooed on my wrist the robin I've always wanted and my e-crib name that has come to define me.

I am Freespirit--body, heart and soul.


Living Life My Way

My new tattoo

The Crib Purist

We have been selling King's Cribbage in the UK for three years now. Over this period of time we have met many crib players that have succumbed to the charm of the game. Occasionally, though, I have to face comments from the crib purist. I quote: "It has cribbage in the title, but it is not cribbage. KC is a retrograde step to the game. I never play any other version."


It's usually men, and they never give the game a chance, just indignantly stroll away to further their point.

Sometimes comments like these feel a tad personal. Some of us love the challenge of the many multiple crib hand scenarios you get playing KC. From the moment you draw your first tiles, every board position presents the player with a crib puzzle, determining the best move, or finding the best way to stifle your opponent. Just like the card game, KC is exciting and fun, plus a good balance of luck and skill.   

I'm reminded of another story.

In 2010, my daughter's partner befriended and decided to rescue a stray puppy named Bobby from outside a military compound in Afghanistan. Unfortunately for the pup it had also been spotted by one of the Afghan locals who wanted to use him as a fighting dog. It is not uncommon to amputate the ears and tail from the dog at an early age before they start training it to fight. To keep the story short, Bobby made it safely to the UK, less his ears and tail, served his time in quarantine, and is now a very happy and amazing dog, enjoying life to the fullest

At a recent dog assessment class, a trainer told me it will be very interesting to see if other dogs will recognise his body language because he has no ears or tail. I had never given this much thought, but it is logical really, this is how dogs communicate with each other, using body language to introduce themselves, be polite (or not), make friends, give calming signals, have fun and interact.

The similarity? Maybe to the hardened crib purist, KC and other variations of the game send the wrong signals, like Bobby with no ears or tail.

As savvy crib fans know, the invention of the game is attributed to Sir John Suckling (1609-1642), but strong evidence suggests it is an extension of an older Tudor game called Noddy or Noddie. Only three cards were dealt to each player, and combined with the upturned card make "the Show." Maybe the pedigree of cribbage isn't as pure as some would like to believe.

I suspect Sir John would be most flattered, knowing we still enjoy playing cribbage and its other variations nearly 400 years later. As a gamester, coupled with his gambling reputation, he may have revelled in playing KC, trying to win another shilling or two. If plastic grid boards and tiles had been in style during his time, we cannot be sure what version of cribbage may have blossomed. What would the purist insist on playing today?

Kings Cribbage Connections UK  


Notes from Cribbageland

In early June, one of the hottest pitchers in Major League Baseball for the (alleged) world's most famous team was dealt quite a blow. Joba Chamberlain, one-time setup man and now starter for the New York Yankees, was told he had torn a ligament in his right elbow, his season over. With Tommy John surgery on the horizon and his career possibly marred forever, there was no sun in the Big Apple for Joba that day.

Nor was there any for his father, Harlan. A victim of polio at a young age, Harlan showed up to Yankee Stadium, as he had so many other times--in a motorized wheelchair, the American flag draped across his lap and a somber expression on his face. In his pocket? A cribbage board.

"He's been playing since he could count," Harlan said in a recent article from the ESPN website. "We were going to play cribbage, and we still will." And we still will. What an odd addendum; it's almost as if what's at stake is Joba's ability to share simple pleasures with his father, as if their whole history--Joba's whole identity--is represented not by his scuffed glove or the silver stitching on his navy ball cap, but his father's wayward cribbage board. It's impossible to know if Harlan always carries that board with him, or if it was fatherly instinct that instructed him to produce a talisman of their past in lieu of an unknown future. Either way, it speaks volumes about their relationship. Maybe that's what cribbage instilled in Joba--values and ideas of sportsmanship, competition, and how to make the best of the cards you're dealt.


Jordan Wiklund is a writer from St. Paul, MN. He is currently drafting his first book, titled Cribbageland: The People, Craft, & Culture of a Curious Game.


JordanW (eCrib)

Cribbageland website

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Bits & Pieces

RIP Williwaw

Long time ecribber williwaw (Phil Latrenda) recently  passed away. His passions were sailing and cribbage. He was ill for a long time.

His message: don't smoke!

Rest in peace Williwaw. We'll miss you on the crib board!

Final ecrib
5000 KC games played, 6700 Crib games,
80 cross games.

Congratulations to JOHN E BREN for winning the free baseball cribbage board game!

We've started up Round The Bases (Baseball Cribbage) Tournaments!

Next up is HAL for Cribbage Baseball.

The tshirt contest is still running! Get your shirts and take some pictures ASAP. A discount on the shirts is available if you email


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