Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stalk the ball

“This is a game for all ages which provides mental and physical stimulation. It combines strategy and precision and is a bit like snooker on grass or a combination of chess and golf. It is an ideal opportunity which allows for social interaction.” My sister read from the Adult Education brochure, adding “And it’s just around the corner. We should sign up for it.”

She read on. “This course will show you the basics required to play the game of croquet. Six 90-minute sessions.”

So this month we’ve been spending our Saturday afternoons out in the sun hitting coloured balls with wooden mallets.

They started us off simply, more or less playing the simplified game known as Aussie croquet. After a while in the first lesson, I started getting the knack of hitting the ball. Then they introduced us to the more subtle aspects of the game.

“Roquet, croquet, continuation,” I muttered to myself. “Stalk the ball. Mind the angle. Check your V. Ball in the hand. Make sure they touch....” I was starting to get a little dizzy. Playing for one or two hours a week means you don’t get a handle on the finer points of the game easily.

The third lesson they showed us the Standard Grip and the Follow Through, with special emphasis on using the shoulder muscles. Yikes!

After that lesson, they gave us a cup of tea in the clubhouse. I could see my coach at the other end of the table, talking to the Club Secretary. I could hear my name being mentioned but I couldn’t make out anything else. “Mumble-mumble-mumble Michael. Mutter Michael mutter.”

I wasn’t really that concerned. Playing croquet for a couple of hours in the sun can be surprisingly tiring. For the moment all that really interested me was getting off my feet and having a hot drink.

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