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Friday, July 23, 2010


The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy had a croquet party for board and staff last night, so A and I gave it a whack. The croquet pitch is next to the Parkside Lodge, and is exquisite. It is to my backyard more or less what the brand of croquet on offer is to the brand of backyard croquet I was familiar with. The real deal is played on a surface like a putting green and is full of tactics and trick shots. They had two styles on offer-- 9 wicket, which is the American variation; and 6 wicket, the real deal English game. The two relate more or less like pool and billiards. The English game is played in a circle, with the post in the middle. The wickets are more narrow- the ball just squeaks through-- and the balls are heavier, about a pound. In order to play a successful round you must play off the other player's ball, ideally setting it up behind your target wicket in order to set it up for the shot you take after making the wicket.

I played 9 wicket, and was still in over my head. It was a very civilized evening, but I don't think it's my sport.

| Comments:
Bald Head Island, a ritzy little island off the coast of Wilmington, NC has a very serious croquet pitch where the participants are required to wear white long pants (or long skirts for the ladies), and white shirts. I've watched a bit of a match while on that island to play golf and talked to some of the players there. It's definitely elitist but does require real skill and practice.
 
It's quite a serious game, no doubt about it. I was impressed by what I saw the serious players do. It was also interesting to see what the English game looks like-- it gave a whole new perspective to Alice in Wonderland.
 
But were they all dressed in "whites"?
 

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