I’ve been trying to work out why my enthusiasm for croquet waned so badly this season. Ever since I came back to NZ last October I’ve played badly and had a pretty horrid time. Last year I was looking at a handicap of 1 (in Golf Croquet) and recently I’ve been in danger of falling back to a 4. I am currently 3. OK I accept that that’s not a matter of great interest to anyone but me. However it IS a matter of considerable interest to me. At the start of this season I had about 8 pieces of silverware attesting to my play from last season together with several other odd tournament wins under my belt.
Until yesterday I was looking at the possibility of a very lean season indeed. In fact I still am although Jayne and I have a doubles win in Whakatane to our credit. The visible reminders of the wins is not, however, what interests me. Not even winning interests me for it’s own sake. What interests me is the fact that they are a barometer of how I have performed. And that matters to me. With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson some would say that “ ‘Tis better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.” But, in my books, that applies only if I have played well!!!!
So this year since my exceptionally poor performance at New Plymouth when I had just arrived back from Scotland I have been out of sorts with myself over croquet. Consequently (perhaps?) I have been a bit out of sorts with myself in general. Leastways I am now assuming that to be the reason.
It occurred to me on Sunday night that perhaps I had become too proud of my achievements over the last couple of years since I have been playing my new-found love. Perhaps I had to learn that I was not so good after all. Perhaps that is to be part of my karmic learning in this life. So I came to terms with myself and accepted that if I was to become a 4 handicap then so be it. I would cease to feel aggrieved with myself. After all in the greater scheme of things it is a pretty unimportant matter.
So yesterday when I was asked to play an Association match with someone whom I dislike playing (because of the sort of defensive game she plays) I agreed notwithstanding my lack of preparedness for Association Croquet not having played a game for a while.
I set out to enjoy it whatever happened. I played a defensive game too (well most of the time) which is alien to my way of playing. I played well given my level of ability in that discipline. After the first 20 minutes (the game was timed for three hours) I fell behind and remained behind until the last few minutes when I managed to creep two hoops in front to win the game. What was significant was not the win but the fact that, instead of my usual feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction with myself as I fell behind, I was calm and accepting. Perhaps that was why I played as well as I could possibly have wished to play in the circumstances.
Perhaps that is why when I played Golf Croquet this morning I played a relaxed and enjoyable and very good couple of games. Perhaps that is why I am now looking forward to finishing the many club handicap games that I still have left to play in the 29 days I have left before I return to Scotland.
Perhaps that is why, today, I am happier with myself than I have been for quite a while.