Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Little Croquet...Eh?

Hey Preps!

"The 27th Annual Annapolis Cup-a croquet match between St. John's College and the U.S. Naval Academy—promises superb intercollegiate competition and a festive lawn party where watching the spectators is as much as the croquet. It's also a bargain for the families and community members who attend. The event is free. Spectators dress in styles reminiscent of "The Great Gatsby," bring champagne picnics, dance to music, and watch the match unfold. It's good old-fashioned free fun."
-St. Johns College
That is right, my Saturday will be spent watching the Midshipmen take on St. Johnnies in a competitive Croquet Tournament.  As of right now, I have finalized my outfit to two front runners.  Which one do you like best?  Vote on this post!

So, as I do need to freshen up on the rules of Croquet, I thought I would do so, with some of my favorite pictures:

Alice in Wonderland...my introduction to croquet.
I swear I thought they actually used flamingos as a little girl.
That did not go over very well with me.

History of Croquet: Croquet has been traced back to the 1300's. It is thought that it may have been an in-door version of lawn-bowling to be played in times of inclement weather. It was then played in more confined spaces. The players enjoyed it enough to bring it back outside for the summer. Originating in France, the game was called "paille-maille" which means ball-mallet. 
Shortly after in France, a doctor changed the rules of paille-maille slightly and recommended it for his patients. He called the new game, "Croquet" after the crooked stick used to hit the balls through the wickets. It then migrated to Ireland where it was called "Crooky". From there it came to England where it supplanted "pall-mall".
Croquet became popular throughout the British Empire. It gained such tremendous popularity that an association was formed at Wimbledon and formal rules were laid down in 1868. Many fields were dedicated to Croquet. But this popularity was to be short-lived. 
The game of tennis hit England in general and Wimbledon in particular. Most of the croquet fields were turned into tennis courts.
Even so, croquet has survived as a sport and is even gaining in popularity today as a rather high class sport on the level of badminton. On any given day in the summer, people can be found in their back yards or at the local park roqueting to their heart's content. There are associations throughout the English-speaking world where competition is fierce and standards high. This is a game or sport that will continue to be played for fun or sport by all age groups.

Amanda Seyfield in Vogue...
after she starred in Alice in Wonderland

The Setup: for croquet is fairly simple, it requires only an open field and a croquet set comprised of two stakes, nine wickets, along with a couple of mallets and balls.

The infamous Chuck Bass

  • Ideally the field will be 100 feet by 50 feet on relatively even ground. However, this is not strictly required. Almost any terrain may be used (within reason). The layout should be made in a manner as close as possible to that shown on the diagram to the left.
  • The game was designed to be played with four or six balls. Yet it may be played with two to six players. Generally, two teams are formed. If there is an odd number of players, the extra player may play two balls. Players may also play "cut-throat" where each plays one ball and scores for himself.
  • The order of play is determined by color and where that color appears on the end-posts. The player with the colored ball at the top of the post goes first and then down the post. Players on opposing teams should hold alternating positions in play. For example, the player who is first should be allied with the third and fifth player. While the second player should be allied with the fourth and sixth.

Simply Madras


  • To win at croquet, a player or team must score the highest number of points. One point is awarded for every wicket passed through in the proper direction and proper order. (That means there are two points awarded for five of the wickets, 1 point each for four wickets, and one point for each stake for a total of 16 points).
  • Each player must drive his ball around the course in the order indicated on the diagram at left. When all the players on a team have completed the course, the game is over and the points are tallied. Thus, one team will get the full number of points available, while the other team will achieve something less.
  • When a player hits the final stake he ceases to take turns. It is sometimes to a team's advantage for a player to pass through all the wickets, but not hit the final stake in order to return to the field to help his team-mates. However, this player must eventually hit the final stake in order to ultimately win the game. A player from the other team may actually roquet such a player into the final stake just to get him out of the game.
  • I could explain Roqueting, but it gets quite complicated

So Who is Ready for some Croquet?
Here are some pictures from past years' Annapolis Cups:
St. Johns...they typically dress up to mock the Midshipmen 

The Midshipmen...in Varsity Navy Sweaters
Typical Dress of the Annapolis Cup
Let the Games Begin!

Be sure to vote for your favorite outfit that I will be wearing to the Annapolis Cup!


DC GOP Girl said...

Just stumbled across your blog (I can't remember who's I connected through) and I love it! Even though you ARE a Steelers fan. Go Skins!

Looking forward to reading it in the months ahead.

Bobby Ramsey said...

Nice pictures : ) I haven't been to the Annapolis Cup in a few years. This year Johnnies are wearing black to protest the new ban on people bringing alcohol... can't say I have a strong feeling about that either way

Bobby R. A'03

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