Craig “Dirt” Bergman laughs when he says the first-ever Eden Prairie yard-games league is “highly competitive.”

“Yeah, it’s competitive,” he said. “It’s a league.”

Bergman is part of a group of 24 adults who meet Thursday evenings at Eden Prairie’s Pioneer Park for a yard-games league. Games played include cornhole (bags), bocce ball and KanJam.

The format calls for 12 two-member teams. Four teams can play each game at the same time. If Team A plays Team B, the two teams rotate through the three games together. Rotations last 25 minutes.

“You play as many games as possible in 25 minutes,” said Doug Tucker, city of Eden Prairie recreation supervisor – athletics. “The winning team gets one league point. The maximum points a team can earn on a league night is three.”

Tucker said the league came about after kicking around ideas last fall.

“Pioneer Park has two permanent bags boards and two permanent bocce ball courts,” he said. “We needed a third game if we were going to do a league and we settled on KanJam.

“It’s a good addition,” he added. “It’s popular. It’s easy to learn and easy to play.”

But a yard-games league?

“We were pleasantly surprised as it filled up quickly,” he said. “It obviously helps when you have one person recruit seven teams.”

Jen Cordes was/is that one person, but don’t call her the organizer.

“I saw it on Twitter,” she said. “It builds community and I thought it sounded fun.”

And?

“Last week, we all went out to eat together,” she said.

Complaints

The gnats had been terrible, but the mosquitoes have been tolerable.

That could change.

“Look at tonight?” said Cordes. “It’s beautiful.”

Jen Bergman said the bags board is too slidy (her word).

“While Dirt Bergman didn’t disagree, he didn’t mind either.

“When we play on the plywood boards at the cabin, we’re going to really be good,” he said.

Laura Halloran was making her league debut on Thursday as a free agent.

“We have a free agent list for members who have to miss a night,” said Tucker.

Halloran started with the cornhole game.

“Wait until we get to bocce,” she said. “That’s where I’m really good.”

So yes, cornhole was a struggle.

Again

Tucker said there’s already talk of a late summer or early fall league.

“We’ll post it at edenprairie.org/adultathletics as soon as it becomes official,” he said.

He then added that goal is utilize the facilities.

“The equipment is stored in a locker on site,” he said. “It’s free to use, you just have to go to the community center for the combination.”

Best of

Jen Bergman, one of a half-dozen or so Eden Prairie School District employees in the league, said she knew about cornhole and bocce, but had her doubts about KanJam.

“No one had ever heard of it,” she said, “but it’s really fun and it’s the game I like the best.”

Some of her league mates like playing cornhole best, others like bocce ball.

But none of that matters because you have to play all three.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Tucker. “and everyone can play.

“I don’t know for sure,” he added, “but I think there might be a 30 to 40-year age difference between our oldest player and our youngest player. That’s pretty cool.”

Who’s counting?

The guy, or gal, who won the last cornhole, bocce or KanJam game.

After all, league points are at stake.

Sports editor

Dan Huss covers Eden Prairie sports and especially loves reporting on sports features and outdoors-related adventures. He lives in Shorewood with his wife, Marnie, daughters Aili and Britt, and Wilma, a pheasant-finding Deutsch Drahthaar.

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