If you are a client and have read our latest newsletter then you have read about my new passion, mowing the lawn with a zero-turn riding mower.  This past weekend, I decided to turn my passion into something more productive by mowing a 50-foot by 50-foot patch in the backyard to create a croquet pitch.  I was so proud of the finished product.  I could not wait for the next day to play a few games.  I woke up with the thought that the grass was still too long, so I dropped the blade again and made the pitch a little quicker.  Of course, I created a cross hatch pattern because I could.

I set the course according to the instructions and then invited my beloved spouse to join me in a friendly game.

There is something deeply satisfying about sending your opponent’s croquet ball off to the races in the wrong direction while playing a heated match.  Apparently, there are two ways to play croquet:  1. Focus on your game and get the ball through the wickets as efficiently as possible or 2. Look for opportunities to send the other player(s) while attempting to do number 1.

Joan and I have played croquet over the three decades we have been together.  In fact, other than an occasional childhood game, I can’t remember playing anyone else.  Joan may give the appearance of a friendly, gentle woman, but looks can be deceiving – she is ruthless in both ping-pong and croquet.  She is my nemesis in these two games.  I am the resident master of Scrabble and proudly hold that title, but croquet, that’s a different story.

As a gentleman, I allowed her to take the first turn.  For the first time I can remember she took off with speedy determination lacing it through each wicket with expert precision.  She was operating under method number 1.  I did everything I could do to catch up and shift the game into method number 2, but I was incapable of catching her.  She hit the finishing post while I still had four or five wickets to go.  I was humiliated.  Game one to my bride.

Game two was a different story, and I will spare you the play by play, but I know you know where this is going.  I pushed it to the best two out of three.  I am too much of a gentleman to share the outcome of that third game, as I am working on being a gracious winner.  I am still not very good at it, as you can tell.

I love that about an hour’s worth of work creating this oasis in our backyard, has yielded hours of friendly competition.  We could probably just as easily play some bocce ball or other such game in this new space.  I am still scouring yard sales for a set of lawn jarts.  What could go wrong heaving heavy metal spikes around the backyard in the direction of your friends and family.  I am surprised they took that off the market.