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Kuura Ahola | 3/27/2024, 9:23 PM

The World Championship Report of Kyykkä (Finnish Skittles) through the Magnifying Glass

Content updated: 3/27/2024, 9:23 PM

The Academic Kyykkä World Championships, which took over the entire Hervanta campus for one Saturday in February, are a celebration for students. Despite the freezing temperatures this year, approximately 5000 visitors annually gather for this event, and even though everyone might have felt cold throughout the day, a little chill didn't dampen the festive spirit or the enthusiasm for kyykkä.

Kyykkä enthusiasts from all over Finland travel to the sold-out kyykkä event, regardless of whether they are seasoned kyykkä players or have barely touched a kyykkä paddle before. The atmosphere is lively, and around the competition area, you can spot players with various props: towering Hauki signs or motorized sofas cruising by seem to be almost ordinary sights.

Luuppi's team "Hauki Don't Hurt Me" representing in the World Kyykkä Championships. Photo: Vivian Tuominen.

The kyykkä fever has once again gripped many Luuppi members, both in the World Kyykkä Championships and beyond. Luuppians can be spotted on the playing fields in all tournaments throughout the year, across Finland, and the World Kyykkä Championships are no exception. Reportedly, at least thirteen teams hailing from Luuppi participated in the tournament. Among them were the "Fuksikyykkä" champions of Luuppi 2023, now competing under the name "Kyykkä Kisut," and on the pro side, the "DDRNV Ahvenkuiskaajat" represented.

The intense cold didn't deter the kyykkä spirit of the Luuppians. Photo: Olivia Keskinen, TT-kamerat.
The cold may have frozen the lens, but the pros endure. Photo: Otto Jahnukainen, TT-kamerat.

My own kyykkä day was spent in the ranks of the newly established "Hauki Don't Hurt Me" team last year, although only for the early rounds as our journey came to a brief halt. Fortunately, the situation was alleviated by the team potluck breakfast held early in the morning and the fantastic atmosphere on other courts, where games could be watched even after our own had ended. In the evening, the festive atmosphere continued at Luuppi's popular World Kyykkä Championship sauna, fostering camaraderie among participants.

I also asked the Luuppians about the highlights of the day, and the responses turned out to be quite diverse. As I read through the answers, I pondered who these events were the true highlights for, as one theme that emerged included losing ("Losing to the winners of the general series" and "Lost to TiTeläiset"). Surprisingly, another theme that emerged was alcohol and its consequences ("Emptying a bottle of gin in the sauna" and "A dark spot in memory regarding going to the sauna").

Other responses were received regarding playing, weather, and the courts as well.

"Himmanen played the first game with our team when [name removed] was late."
"I witnessed the highest score of the entire World Kyykkä Championships (+7) while I was playing a DJ set near the main court."
The heatpacks, also known as heatpacks, were the MVP of the day. The feeling of a grand sports celebration was present as long as the fun lasted. There were typically too many vague highlights on the courts, including random encounters like meeting the same towel guy who was handing out towels a couple of years ago and recognized the towel, as well as a teammate's hilariously unpublished performance after the aftermath of the laundry rebellion.

One of the highlights of the day also included:

Seeing many old faces wiping the floor with youthful vigor.
Enjoying the cold and real winter weather, relishing the fact that even though properly dressed, there was still a hint of chill.

And of course, as a final response, something that encapsulates all of this, particularly my bewilderment, very well:

A Luuppi member lost their fingertip.

Did the kyykkä fever linger after the World Kyykkä Championships? Read the article "More Than Just Beer Kyykkä?" and join us for training!

The kyykkä excitement of this spring continued at the Oulu World Cup of Kyykkä. Photo: Joonas Koponen