Fancy A Game Of Croquet?

#WorldWatercolorGroup Fancy a game of croquet mallet and ball orange white background

One of the outdoor games I remember most at family gatherings, after lawn darts which I doodlewashed last year, has to be croquet. For some reason, our family stumbled upon a croquet set, often associated with the upper class who would recoil at the thought of lawn darts, and a new tradition was born. For anyone unfamiliar with this game, it consists of a set of wires bent into a horseshoe shape called wickets, some mallets, and some balls. The goal was basically to have your side’s balls go through more wickets than your opponent’s side. And there ends my proper knowledge as we made up the rest. There’s a “right” way to set up the court, but it was more fun to create a winding obstacle course instead. When the wickets weren’t enough we’d add other things like aluminum cans and Tupperware into the mix. I realize now, I’ve never really played croquet, but instead, played a sort of homemade miniature golf sporting odd wooden hammers and some really big balls.

Sometimes, a cousin would insist on playing by the rules and I was always irritated. It didn’t seem as fun at all and actually sort of boring. It wasn’t until later that I realized, as I would throughout my life, that some people are completely lost when there are no rules and others, often those crazy creative types, are lost when there are rules. Trying to play by someone else’s rules has always been a problem for me. It’s not that I questioned authority, it’s just that my mind works by riddling through a series of possibilities. Rules automatically made something, whatever it was, impossible. And I’ve always wanted to explore new things and try things that haven’t been done before. Luckily, I had a lot of like-minded friends to play with who would happily make up and break rules as we went along, so those outdoor games were really fun.

Looking back, I realize that rules are the only way to declare a true winner, but I guess we just weren’t as interested in that. We were too busy having fun to worry about who was the best player and who was the worst. If anything, the reward simply came from the time spent enjoying a fun activity together. We all walked away as winners that way. I’ve not played outdoor games in years, because my friends all grew up, moved on, or learned to play by the rules. Sometimes, I think back and miss those wonderful times building those crazy courses and wonder what it would be like to try it again today. In my dream, I’d see people across the park who seemed to share that gleeful sense of reckless abandon and march right over to the wayward group, one eyebrow raised, and slyly ask, “Fancy a game of croquet?”

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup Fancy a game of croquet mallet and ball orange white background

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Teresa Robeson 6 years ago

    Hahaha! You little rebel! I never played it as a kid but I bought a set for my kids…who ended up not playing it either. LOL!

    • Author

      LOL… I’m far from real rebel… I’m not that cool! But we definitely played with it… just not in the way you were supposed to! hehe 😊💕

  2. Carol 6 years ago

    It was always more fun to “enhance” the rules and personalize games – especially outdoor games – and in my opinion it made them even more fun!

  3. memadtwo 6 years ago

    I think kids always change the rules they’re given…and we adults could try to remember more often how to play that way!

    • Author

      Absolutely… I always try to stop myself and think… now what would Little Charlie have done here? And I can usually always come up with a way to makes things much more fun! 😃💕

  4. Bill Jackson 6 years ago

    My cousins introduced me to badminton and croquet. Badminton was a no go for me but croquet was sort of fun. Though it was decades later before I played again. Thanks for reminding me of that special time.

    • Author

      Thanks, Bill! 😃💕 Glad ya liked this one. Yeah… I sucked at badminton and although I didn’t like plain old croquet, at least I could sort of do it! hehe

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Your croquet set is so lively, orange being a color of brightness and happiness. I’ve always loved croquet but like pool, I could never get the balls to go where they were supposed to. I like playing games for social reasons, not for winning anything. That just takes the fun out.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I always hated when a “competitive” person joined the group. It sucks the fun out of everything. And I can’t really play pool well either! 😊hehe

  6. M. L. Kappa 6 years ago

    Hehe, sounds just like the crquet we played as kids, not even on a lawn, but on bare earth! Constantly changing rules, too💕💕💕

  7. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Ahaha Charlie fun post! And you painted them so beautifully! 😉 <3

  8. You’re a true democrat, Charlie: a man who can get to grips with both lawn darts and croquet…

  9. Rules! What are rules? Lol…we have a lovely set at work, but with a group of usually over 10 people ranging from 60-90 there is usually only one person that has a vague idea of the game structure and rules. ……that’s in England on the south coast, an area that you would think the game was played, as it has some affluent areas. I reckon people just had them set up, and never played….just looked good on the lawn 😀

    • Author

      Lol… so true!! And yes! To heck with rules… sooooo much more fun to just knock balls around and have a fabulous time doing it! Lol Thanks so much, Rebecca! 😃💕

  10. Ellie 6 years ago

    I never thought of croquet as game for the upper crust – we had a set and, just like you, set up the wickets and whatever wherever we wanted and then just smacked the ball around. I remember being more concerned with being able to hit my sister’s ball than getting it through any wickets. Wonderful painting and great story, as always, Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕 Yeah, it was certainly not upper crust when we did it… hehe… but I think movies like Heathers made it seem like it was for the wealthier more popular kids. hehe

  11. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Love the bright reds and the shadows.

  12. gabriellaquintini 4 years ago

    Hello Charlie,
    I think your paintings are wonderful and I like the way you write about your partner.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Aww thanks so much!! 😃💕 My partner is a lovely person indeed. Glad you enjoyed this post!

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