article comments on Croquet
Dress, by James Charlton and Wm. Thompson.
us pick up where Messrs Charlton and Thompson have left
off, and backtrack from there. In regard to weather, a croquet
player of any mettle whatsoever will not be stopped or encumbered
by the forces of nature. The conditions of play are to be
met and overcome just like the other players on the course.
For this type of play, certain preparations and equipment
yourself with the proper gear for rainy and muddy play.
Take an umbrella. Rubber overshoes are practical and save
an otherwise fine pair of footwear from being ruined by
water. As for the shoes themselves, any comfortable pair
of well-oiled leather shoes will serve you well on the course.
Take care to break your shoes in, as youll be spending
all day on your feet during lengthy games. A sweater over
your shirt should accommodate you in the chilly weather,
and it protects your shirt from the invariably airborne
soil. Note that your pants will be the second casualty to
the mud, after your shoes.
favourite sports time-honoured tradition of croquet
whites has never been less appropriate. Gentlemen
traipsing through cranberry bogs on their way to the next
wicket are not interested in spending the prize purse on
a new pair of bleached trousers. Wear dark colours that
can absorb stains, but at all times mind that you look presentable.
The exception to overland croquets ban on white is
the shirt, which will contrast sharply with the colours
of the rest of the outfit. Concerning colour, a wicketer
can choose to wear hots or cools
depending on which colour balls he is playing. Family or
team colours (Blues v. Reds) are also appropriate.
is recommended for certain courses or situations. Most uphill
wicketers can well use a light helmet. If a play arises
that will involve simultaneous malleting through a narrow
passage, prudent players will choose to wear headgear. No
official helmet has been designed for overland croquet,
but the leather ones used by early twentieth-century American
footballers seem to work fine.
auxiliary items are peculiar to overland croquet, and should
be acquired. The hip flask is an indispensable article for
the overland player, not only for its portability but also
its individuality. Snug in a pocket, the hip flask provides
convenient access to refreshment wherever the player happens
to be on the course, eliminating the need for the pesky
drink tables common to small course games.
obvious alternative to the hip flask is the water
boy, who follows the player with a host of beverages.
Water boys are an essential extravagance for the overly
rich, but are inferior in practicality compared to the hip
flask. The water boys array of refreshments is outweighed
by the flasks convenience. The hip flask will never
hand you the wrong drink, and, unless you lose your trousers,
is constantly by your side. I cant say that about
most water boys, who often fall behind somewhere around
the thirty-second wicket. Better to position a water boy
at every sixth or seventh station, where he will be ready
and able to give your flask a fresh start.
also goes over a lot easier with the metal flask. The last
attempt to monogram a water boy was made in 1937, and met
with disastrous results.
of the sports long range, overland croquet requires
a greater battery of equipment than the garden or club varieties.
Mallets can break or get lost in the underbrush after a
particularly violent swing or throw. To accommodate the
extra haulage, the overland pack was invented around the
turn of the century by Richard Cogney. Its compartments
hold an extra pair of mallets and balls, a handful of wicket
clips, basic land navigation tools and an extra shirt. Change
into this spare shirt as you play the last few hoops; youll
feel refreshed and will finish the course looking splendid.
In addition, another space in the pack is large enough to
hold a small bottle of Scotch and the latest issue of Harpers.
Overland packs vary in weight according to the material
from which they are wrought, with choices ranging from wicker
to leather. In team play the packs may be disposed of if
each team agrees to leave a reserve of supplies at stations
along the course.
Dress, by James Charlton
and Wm. Thompson