Each spring as soon as the snow clears, an event occurs at Lord Canfield’s Manor. The ex’s massive lawn is raked, mowed, fertilized, and manicured in preparation for a standing appointment each and every Sunday. A course is designated, wickets are set, mallets are cleaned, and blue, red, black and yellow balls are polished to a blinding glaze. The croquet season has begun.
The participants number only three, mainly because Lady Canfield and her dear friend the Countess found that Wal Mart doesn’t make frilly hoop skirts or parasols. It should be clear that women of fine breeding do not play croquet without proper attire. We usually kill the time before dinner by drinking cosmos at the condo.
Three seemingly normal men meet under a facade of good taste. Their garb is casual, sensible, and geared toward comfort, in anticipation of several grueling hours of hard play ahead. Of course a defined heel on any chosen footwear is strictly forbidden, lest it mar the playing surface.
They greet each other in an atmosphere of friendly competition. With beer in hand, small talk barely disguises the ritualistic pack circling their prey as Lord Canfield, Father Moseby, and Count Curly search for any weakness in the other two which may prove advantageous. Perhaps one is being bothered by a bad knee, or another is struggling to hide the blister on his palm from the prior week of swinging the mallet inappropriately. A sniffle might mean the onset of an allergy, directly interfering with concentration. It is a time of acute observance of mannerisms (in between the beer). Let the games begin!
For those who have never been introduced to the finer recreations in life, croquet might be just your ticket. See, you knock these colored balls about the size of a grapefruit around with what looks like a big stick with a double sided hammer attached, and hope they go through the little wicket thingies. That would be a wicket stickit, as opposed to a sticky wickey, I imagine. Talk about dumb. Is this even considered a sport?
I always thought smacking someone else’s ball is a no-no, but turns out in croquet it’s OK. You actually get two bonus points for it. It appears Count Curly has just walloped Lord Canfield’s ball, and now the Count has four options, unless Lord Canfield changes the rules again.
The Count may play like a girl and just take the bonus points. He may place his own ball a hammerhead from the other one (an act of daring doo) and take his bonus swings. He can put his ball next to Lord Canfield’s (chancy) and smack both of them. Lastly, he may place his ball beside the Lord’s, put his foot on his own ball, and go for the gold by whacking it to move the Lord’s ball without moving his. Apparently the Count has asked for another beer while deciding his strategy. And the game goes on…and on…and on.
I, however, shall not. Let me just say that to my way of thinking, croquet should have gone the way of frilly hoop skirts and parasols. These three bozos tromp around for hours poking a ball through a hoop on the grass. Am I missing something? Croquet is as much of a sport as beer pong is, for cripes sake, and not half as much fun…right Countess?
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