Ryan and Henry Try Sports: Croquet Edition

Henry Adams and Ryan Moll

There we were, chilling at Ryan’s house and goofing around on the internet, just having your classic lazy sunday. The day was full of promise and excitement, and we were full of Red Vines. Then, following a series of Youtube videos that Ryan felt the need to watch, we made a choice that changed our lives forever.

We decided to play croquet.

After a quick Google search, one result dominated the page: the Portland Croquet Club. We did some quick internet research, found the particulars of the club, and, after asking our parents for permission (of course), we embarked on a journey to the city to play some croquet, the quintessential British sport of royalty and aristocrats.

We pulled up to the Portland Croquet Club’s facilities in the late afternoon. It was a perfect fall day, with orange leaves blowing gingerly on the barren trees. The sound of the satisfying click of a mallets hitting balls filled the air, creating a pleasant backdrop over which we talked to the club manager, arranging a game for us and two ‘regulars’.

We met the regulars, named Kurt and Rob. While they warmed up and flexed their mallets, we selected our mallets and attempted to follow their warm-up routine. Ryan chose a 2 pound 4×4 putt, and Henry chose a 2.5 pound long swinger. The 4×4 putt is perfect for precise hits through the stakes, while the long swinger is a good choice for aggressive roquets, or a move in croquet where you hit an opponent’s ball with your own, sending theirs flying.

On the first round, Kurt and Rob hit perfect games, nailing every shot, while we struggled to make it through the third stake. This, in addition to the various rule violations and other faux pas, was more or less how the rest of the game went for us. Luckily, Kurt and Rob were patient.

“I remember my first time playing,” said Kurt. “I got kicked out for breaking a mallet.”

Kurt and Rob are croquet masters, each having played in numerous tournaments and championships. They’ve played in the 1990 Summer Olympics, the esteemed Ascot Cup, and even took first in the 1989 Salisbury Cup. The duo has been teaching new players for years, so we weren’t their first students in the croquet world. After the games, we went with Kurt and Rob to grab some grub and discuss the game.

“Croquet is truly an elegant sport,” says Rob. “It combines the grace of Victorian England with the skill of golf and the ability to hang out with your buds and drink a few brewskis.”

If you’re looking for a fun afternoon with a few friends, head on down to the Portland Croquet Club and play a round or two. Enjoy the grace, the skill, and the friends. Although we have to wait until we’re 21 to enjoy brewskis on the court.