Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Thoughts on my Croquet Season

I am a member of and play both Association and Golf Croquet at and for the Marewa Croquet Club (MCC !) in Napier.

I'll try not to go on too much and be boring but croquet has become such a huge part of my life and enjoyment in New Zealand that I have decided to write a summary of the season and put down a few of my thoughts on the subject. This posting is as much for me as for you, dear reader. At some time in the future I hope that I will be able to look back at this as though it were a diary summary of entries in a wonderful year.

During the season I have learned a lot about myself in relation to sport.

I have never been very competitive in sports because they have never mattered to me. In any case, apart from my sojourn into fencing (which I loved) and golf (which I really wanted to love but couldn't), my feelings when participating in sport have ranged from hatred (of long distance running) to complete indifference (to almost everything else). In other words I have never enjoyed sports very much. [PS I'm sorry Dad, I know you told me that I should never hate anything in life and perhaps I should have copied Jenni and just said, with a mock stamp of my foot, that I didn't like it a very lot.].

I have discovered, however, not only that I enjoy croquet enormously but also that when I play competitively I want to win. This has rather taken me by surprise because I never had that feeling even with fencing. Having said that I've also discovered that it's not a desire to win at all costs and that I can also lose a match and truly enjoy the game. I've come second in two finals this year: at Wanganui and in the Hawkes Bay Golf Croquet Handicap Singles which was played at Marewa.

The first was against a lady from my own Club who was, for many years, Hawkes Bay's top woman Association Croquet Player but this was a Golf Croquet match and she had the same handicap at the time as I had ie 6. She was a lady in whom I was of considerable awe. When I played in the final all I wanted was for me not to disgrace myself. In fact I lost the match 6:7. It was a superb game and a fair result: I had not disgraced myself but the better player had won.

The second and more recent match was against Carol Piercey, a lovely lady whom I have met on quite a few occasions at various tournaments. It was a handicap match and although we had both started the season on a 6 handicap she had dropped to an 8 and I had risen to a 4 and therefore I had to give her 4 free shots. She beat me by one hoop. She used her shots well and played better than I did on the day when it mattered. However we both played very well and it was neither a disgrace for me nor a walkover for her. It was a good match.

So I would not agree that it is always better to have played and lost than never to have played at all. I would modify the statement to say that it is better to have played a good and enjoyable game and lost than to have won and not to have enjoyed the game. However by far the best is to have won an enjoyable game!

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