Monday, 30 November 2009

So Who Says Games Are Only Games?

Well that was some week I have to say.  It's a week when I've learned a lot including how wonderful it is to have friends who accept you warts and all and who are not afraid to tell you when they think you are a pain in the bum: in other words, true friends.

An amusing cartoon in the Clubhouse - I'm not like that, honest.
The Crusing Kings: Gary and Val: runners up in the Golf Croquet Doubles

 Don and Annette Reyland: Doubles Winners.....again.

Don wins the Championship.....again.

I cannot pretend that my croquet life has been easy since I arrived in my New Zealand home a month ago.  This week has been a fairly traumatic one so far as my self belief has been concerned and for a few days it turned me from a person loving his sport and every game won or lost into a person beating himself up for every bad stroke played and every game won or lost because I wasn't playing well and I believed that I should have been.

In the three years I've been playing croquet I've risen into the higher echelons of the game and have the silverware to show for it.  I've steadily and quickly improved my handicap and have never gone backwards - until yesterday.  Yesterday I lost 39 points in the first three games I played and went from a 2 to a 3.  I have seen people who who have lost the winning lottery ticket who looked more cheerful than I did.  I was playing badly by any standards in a game that I have come to worship because it is the first game in which I have excelled.  A game into which, I now realise, I had poured an emotional capital no game deserves.

Before she went to represent Hawkes Bay as part of the Lower North Island team I suggested to Zoe that she should always appear the same regardless of whether she won or lost.  And here was I completely disregarding my own advice.  Here was I both demoralised and exceedingly grumpy.  Worse than that I was showing that I was grumpy.

Gary and Val King and Don and Annette Reynald (above) are four of the lovliest people I have ever met.   They ahve been playing croquet since I was in nappies.  Never, win or lose, do they waver one little bit.  They may not be happy and may comment on the odd shot or game or even tournament but they never, ever, appear grumpy nor complain.

So last night when we were all gathered in the Motel before going out to dinner, Colleen (who has more reason to complain than most people I know in this life but who never does) said words to the effect of "Graham, you come to tournaments with us and you are really good fun to be with and you take your wins and losses and you get on with it.  Since you came home you've got steadily worse.  You are beating yourself up.  You are no longer fun.  You are a major pain in the arse.  Get over it.  NOW."

I have.

Today I am a new person: a happier person.  I played a new game.   And I have come home  from the tournament with more points than I arrived at it with.  Well, one more point to be exact!

It is so good to have friends: true friends.  [Footnote to Marcel - déja vu by any chance?  Thanks again.]

I'm sorry that this has been a particularly self-indulgent and introspective posting but I had to do it.


  1. Don't you be sorry, I loved reading this post. You are human...we all get critical of ourselves, in causing grumpiness and {ouch} sharing that grouchiness with others.

    I love your friend for telling you what you needed to hear. It made me laugh out loud, and then, of course, I had to share this with Ray because he was asking what I was laughing about :)

    This is a good lesson and reminder to all of us -humans- (to get on with it, treat ourselves better, allow a bit of failure and enjoy what comes next).

    Good Post, Graham!!

  2. We can all use a "Colleen" every once in a while, right?
    I enjoy the human-ness of posts like this. Our usual happy posts are only a small part of who we are.

  3. "Ditto" with Heather and shabby girl.

  4. No need for apologies, you need to work that out of your system. Now head back out and enjoy yourself!

    Sending care,

    Michelle and Zebbycat

  5. So now you are over your grumpiness and you have extra reason to be happy. You have a friend like Colleen to be thankful for which makes you fortunate indeed!

  6. Getting aware, fessing up and turning around... Usually a healing process for the soul! ;)