This weekend the Merion Cricket Club held the 20th Anniversary Croquet Invitational. According to some reports, this is the biggest Croquet Tournament in the U.S.A. There were 160 players whacking balls around the 24 grass tennis courts for 3 days.
Merion Cricket Club is an Old Line, Old Money Waspatorium that has great tennis and squash and facilities and serves a mean Snapper Soup. Merion is not quite as hard to join as it once was, you know with the economy and all and many Clubs across the Nation scraping for cash and new members. It used to have the reputation of needing direct a Mayflower rap to get in. It is far more loose now and quite a nice place.
This Croquet-a-polooza is pretty interesting . One of the organizers claimed in a quote in the Main Line Times: "It's the putting of golf, the angles of billiards and about 66 percent the strategy of chess." I always thought it was a game played at a backyard party which gave you an excuse to try to dent your older brother's ass with a mallet. The game always turned into weapon wielding mayhem in my parent's backyard in Bryn Mawr. Few balls were shot thru any hoops and no one really knew the strict rules of the game anyway.
Evidently this crew that donned whites and showed up at this Club in Haverford takes this gig seriously and believes it is a sport. Arguably it is no more or less a sport than golf in many ways. Then again, I do not much like golf either. Given the chance to blow shit up with a shotgun as opposed to chasing a little white ball around a giant manicured lawn, I will opt for the former.
However, I do see this as a spectator opportunity. One can certainly park on the expansive porch of this venue and slam down some Gin and Tonics or Bloody's and watch these "athletes" crack away at the balls.
I wonder if Michael Caine knows that dude stole his British Officer's campaign Hemlet from the wardrobe room of the movie "Zulu?"
Photos courtsey of MainLinemedianews.com