A group of St. John’s College students headed south to spend part of their spring break in the land of the pines. Unlike most spring breakers visiting Pinehurst, they aren’t here for the golf; they came for the croquet.
The team first heard about Pinehurst from a St. John’s alumnus who is now a Pinehurst Country Club member. They decided to devote a portion of their time off to playing here at Pinehurst in order to get ready for the Annapolis Cup Croquet Match coming up in April.
The match, which is considered an annual rite of spring, pits St. John’s against the U.S. Naval Academy in a croquet match like no other. The community-wide event attracts several thousand people to the heart of Annapolis, Maryland for a festive lawn party complete with costumes, picnics, swing dancing and, of course, croquet competition, according to the St. John’s website.
“Having places like this to play legitimizes the sport for me, it proves croquet isn’t just a lawn game,
it’s actually a competitive sport.”
– Sean Miller
“Like any sport, croquet rewards a lot of practice,” Jared Bassmann said. “It’s a really fun game, there’s a lot of physics involved.”
Teammate Mifield Xu agrees that the strategy is one of the best parts of the game.
“Thinking is a big part,” he said. “I really enjoy that aspect.”
“It requires you to think far ahead if you want to play well,” Bassmann added.
There’s been no sleeping in for the group, who were out on the croquet courts each day by about 9 a.m. and played until dark. It’s been a treat to play on such “beautiful and well maintained” courts, Bassmann said.
“The facilities are fantastic,” Sean Miller said. “They are the best we’ve ever been exposed to and the people are so kind and friendly.”
They’ve also enjoyed getting to play alongside members of the Pinehurst Croquet Club.
“Everybody has been so fantastic and had so much to offer in teaching us,” Tyler Snyder said.
“These are world-class players,” Miller said. “Having places like this to play legitimizes the sport for me, it proves croquet isn’t just a lawn game, it’s actually a competitive sport.”