“Quit your bitchin’ and start pitchin’.” In May of 2000, this became the slogan for the Colonial Quoit Club, a quoiting league based in Hamilton, New Jersey. The Colonial Quoit Club, now one of the most established quoit leagues in New Jersey, has just wrapped up their 2011 season with Mike Cech taking the championship title.
A fairly inexpensive sport, according to quoitfactory.com, quoits is a game played with steel discs that are thrown, or “pitched,” at a metal “hub.” According to the same source, quoits originated in Pennsylvania around the 1930’s and continues to be popular in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area.
Formed by neighbors Nick Lukasewycz and Mark Prekop, both of Hamilton Township, the league started as a bunch of friends getting together from mid-May to mid-September with “a quoit in one hand, a beer in the other,” says Lukasewycz. Over the years, this backyard club had evolved into a more competitive league, with players growing in skill and the competition becoming steeper than ever.
The Colonial Quoit Club, named after the street the club calls home, continues to rise in popularity as the years go by. According to Prekop, the club only has 25 roster spots open, so you have to register early in the season to secure a place in the league.
“The beauty of this game is that almost anyone can play. The club boasts both male and female players with an age range of early twenties to late seventies,” said Lukasewycz. “It’s a game of finesse, as opposed to power, and allows fair competition across the board..”
“It is entirely by chance that we arrived at this point. It has taken ten years of mistakes, tweaks to the format, and trial and error to get to where we are,” said Lukasewycz. According to Prekop, the amount of ringers has doubled since 2000 and the players from this club have won many of the local tournaments that are held each summer in the area.
Opening night of Colonial Quoit Club’s eleventh season was held on Friday, May 7, 2011 with 22 players gracing the pits. According to the club’s web site, Jeff Onyszczuk and Mike Klidzia took the top spots for the evening. The season would go on to consist of fourteen weeks followed by a playoff tournament to determine the club champion. This year, Mike Chech became the second player to become a repeat champion in the league. “Mike was the best player all year long and proved that fact with his playoff performance,” said Lukasewycz.
The finals of the quoit club hardly mark the end of the season for the dedicated “Quoit-Heads” of this league. The players continue to pitch well into the fall months, until the weather or prior commitments interfere, says Lukasewycz. An annual Colonial Quoit Club picnic is also held to mark the end of the season and present awards to the winners. Traditional awards includr “Top Dog,” for highest point average, and “Most Improved.”
“The most important award,” according to Lukasewycz, “is the sportsmanship award. This is awarded to the player that most embodies the spirit of friendship and camaraderie in a competitive environment. It is what makes the game enjoyable for me, playing with quality people while still trying to beat the pants off of your opponent.”