This weeks review challenge was to experience a sport or activity that you had never under gone before. With visions of cucumber sandwiches, Alice in Wonderland and home made lemonade, I tottered off to play croquet.
A gentile activity, traced to the middle ages; one of skill and tactics and perfect to discuss politics and gossip over. How lawn bowls became more popular in modern days is beyond understanding. The game is unique and contain elements and skills from a number of other sports and pastimes, notably:
- Billiards - the skill in making a ball hit another so that they move in different, but specific directions and the ability to extend the player’s time on the court by making "breaks"
- Golf - accurate single ball strokes are needed as with putting
- Chess - much depends on the player’s tactical skills and able to see several shots ahead.
Our group was tutored in the game of gateball – a quick, competitive game played in teams. Social to begin with, but the killer instincts and tactics didn’t take long to surface. A definite game to play with friends or workmates to improve communication and strategizing and far more engaging than standing one end and rolling balls down to the other end as bowls tends to be. The winner is decided by the total number of points achieved during the 30-minute game – so perfect for an afternoon team building or weekend experience.
Both croquet and gateball is suitable for all ages and fitness. My three year old had a few challenges holding the lightest mallet– but my five year old played diligently and enjoyed the challenge. Most clubs will welcome new players in for free to try it out. The club our group went to hosts a social tutorage afternoon each Saturday for $10 per person. All equipment is supplied and unlike other sports, no special shoes or clothing is required. However, on the greens at any time of the year, the sun can be very hot and reflects off the grass, so sunglasses and a hat is suggested.
For more information on this game go to http://gateball.com.au for Australian and international clubs and competitions.
Four thumbs up for a unique experience and fun to boot.