Cold, it was very cold today. Not extreme winter cold, but for a Texas boy, this April Fool’s day in Illinois was fucking cold. It was a good turn out, eight of us bundled in long sleeve shirts, sweaters and jackets. It’s called layering, a term I was quickly learning. The course was set up and with a crack of mallet against ball the season began.
I had played croquet a few times before. Most recently, this past July when I had come up to see an Astros vs Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Sipping on a cold beer, on a hot summer day in the bleacher seats of Wrigley, check and check, one more item crossed off my bucket list. On that croquet night I did quite poorly, but started to get the swing of it by the 4th or 5th game.
Today, I got off to a quick start, first through wicket one and two. I was starting to feel good, and then my lack of prowess showed as it took me turn after pathetic turn for my ball to find its way through wicket 3.
The game went on and on and on. Normally there aren’t so many players and normally it isn’t so fucking cold. The interminable torture (it wasn’t that bad, but it’s no fun to write about mundane annoyances) came to a end, the game was over. I had accrued 9 wickets, a good showing for an amateur but an awful showing for a dentist*.
Half the crew left at this point, due to you guessed it – the fucking cold. I consented to participating in another game with those who remained. Mercifully this one went by in a fraction of the time and I ended up with 12 wickets, putting my average in double digits. It was a much better opening day performance than I had predicted.
Monday nights will be consumed with croquet for the next few months. I expect to increase my ability and my average. I look forward to enjoying beers, good competition and good conversation. I look forward to the time spent outdoors and I look forward to it not being so fucking cold.
*dentist is a term used for players who have played in 20 games within the previous or current season. You have to reach dentist status to be in the running for yearly champion. Also a game can not be considered a league authorized game unless there are at least 3 dentists amongst the minimum of 4 players. The only reason I consented to the 2nd game was due to these rules and my desire to reach dentist status as quickly as possible.