A cold but sunny Friday afternoon. The Cabbage Patch park on Hope Street. A group of slightly cold but very tweed covered students huddled around a couple of bottles of lookalike Pimms. The scene is set.
I didn’t really have high expectations when going to the croquet society’s first social event of the semester. Let’s face it – croquet is the kind of sport that no one really does unless they grew up on an estate (no, not that kind of estate). Or maybe you play it if you’re 65 and have retired to the south of France. I kind of expected to approach a group of snobbish people who probably fox hunt in their free time and think pheasant is a perfectly normal to have for a Sunday supper.
What I was actually met with was a lovely group of welcoming people who just wanted a nice peaceful drink and a chat with friends in the sun.
Everyone was so friendly and it quickly became apparent that they didn’t take themselves or the sport too seriously. They were just happy to share a few drinks with potential new members and have a laugh rather than get competitive and serious about playing with mallets. They also (for a decent price of £5) had a limitless bar of Pimms. Well, not really Pimms but we can’t have everything – we’re students after all. The setting was incredibly relaxed and almost all committee members that I approached were happy to talk about how they want to expand the society to be something more than a group of 20 people.
So maybe I was a little too distracted by the Pimms alternative to pay complete attention, but most of the teaching went over my head. Sold as an educational event to get more people involved in the sport, it ended up being more of a drinking session. But that’s more my kind of sport anyway (if competitive drinking were a sport, I’d be right there, for better or worse).
The actual sport seemed very old fashioned. Something about standing a mallet away from the hoop and trying to hit your ball through? Regardless it was a really fun time and all those playing got heavily involved in trying to hit each others balls out of the way. In fact, things got so competitive that people became more interested in hitting other people’s balls that they kind of forgot about the whole game.
As I said – almost everyone was friendly and welcoming. Overall, I can definitely see myself going to some more of their events. I may even give the sport a shot next time (maybe).