Jonas Doerr – Opinions Columnist
One of the most charming people at Gustavus is Assistant Director of Campus Activities Garrett Meier. You may have experienced his dashing smile and impeccable manners at a CAB event around campus or at the Involvement Fair. If not, you’re probably dying to know: “How can I meet this fantastic faculty?”
Look no further than Cribbage in the Gustie Den. At face value, this is just another event on campus. But once you walk in the doors of the Den on a Friday afternoon, you realize that this is no typical tabletop experience. Inside is a once-in-a-four-year-Gustavus-college-career chance to both revel in a traditional Midwestern luxury and meet the one and only Garrett Meier.
For those readers unfamiliar with the exquisite exhibition of the game of cribbage, I will explain briefly: it’s Nascar with cards. One might say, Nascard. If you’ll excuse my pitiful punning, I’ll explain.
Players get dealt hands of six cards and must choose the best combination out of those cards to try to move their pegs along a wooden racetrack full of holes. The player that gets to the end of the track first through skill and fortune wins. The rules are relatively simple, which allows players to socialize or aggressively trash-talk their opponents.
“When I was a student I was the risk manager for the Cribbage Club, but basically it was something we would do every Friday. Anyone could come in and play cribbage; it was a good way to meet people and hang out and listen to music. I wanted to do that again as a way to be more approachable to students as someone who is working with student orgs and as an event planner,” Meier said. Since Cribbage Club was such a success back then, he thought he would bring back a similar event.
The appeal of Cribbage in the Gustie Den is nearly limitless. One can talk to friends, bop to good tunes, snack on candy, and trounce opponents all at the same time. Plus, the shape of the Gustie Den allows particularly clever trash talk lines to resonate grandly, making it all the more appealing. It is impossible to resist proclaiming one’s inevitable victory after the first play of the game, which makes the rest of the game that much more interesting since one’s reputation as a cribbage prophet is at stake.
Of course, it might be hard to live up to your trash talk if that is the route you choose. In fact, Meier is somewhat worried that people might not want to come because of how stupendously amazing he is at cribbage. “I’m hoping I don’t scare people away from kicking their asses, but – I’m pretty good,” Meier smugly said.
Don’t let that scare you away, however; he is sometimes beaten. “It’s kind of about what cards you get. If someone gets a thirty point hand, there’s not really much you can do about that. It’s just fun to talk trash,” Meier said. Either way, you can feast on the bags of candy he provides.
And to top it all off, Cribbage in the Gustie Den costs you less than a cup of coffee at the Courtyard Cafe! Less than a to-go box of fries in the Caf! Less than the to-go box itself! Believe it or not, this incredible event is entirely free for you. You can make friends, feast your face, and throw shade at strangers’ cribbage play for absolutely no charge. Winning might cost a little extra though.
Even if all that is not enough to convince you to come to the next Cribbage event on October 28th, there’s more. Since cribbage is a game many people play at home with their families, playing it with fellow Gusties is “a way to bring and make a family on campus and to connect with past ways of how your families hang out,” Meier said.
Plus, coming to Cribbage in the Gustie Den with him “is a great way to get involved on campus just because I have so many avenues of ways to get involved,” Meier said. Since he’s essentially the Godfather of campus activities, he’ll find you a way to fit in. He might even find you ten ways.
Clear your schedules for the next time this exceptional event occurs, because you don’t want to miss it. There’s too many reasons to be there. In cribbage, if someone loses by thirty points, it’s called getting ‘skunked’. It’s pretty humiliating, especially when you’ve been talking big game the whole time. But in reality, playing cribbage is fun even if you lose. The only way you’re really going to get skunked is if you miss out on cribbage.