BY CHRISTINE SCHRUM
Baba’s frequenters know that beating the summer heat is a question of mind over mallet. Below, we quiz event organizers Sundar Raman and Rob “Hibbsy” Hibbs on love, war, and fashion among the wickets.
What is it about croquet that draws you to the game?
SUNDAR: It’s British, and they’re all nuts!
We’re wondering if it’s the attire.
SUNDAR: Fashion’s a required part of the game—it’s not just important. We’ve thought about instating a “no-play unless you come with duds” rule. But obviously people scoff at our rules. Our rules are not really meant to be taken seriously, I guess. Takes a moment to appreciate a fellow player sporting a mechanic’s jumpsuit.
How did the British gentleman’s sport make its way here to the cornfields of Iowa?
SUNDAR: Croquet used to be in the Olympics! It did. No joke. I swear. And it was in the Olympics because the U.S. wanted it to be and nobody else did. And therefore it was dropped out of the Olympics because the U.S. couldn’t muster up enough support. So we, Baba’s Croquet Club of Fairfield, being the center of the universe, as it were, are trying to revamp the lost glory of croquet. And the fashion! I mean, who wants to watch the Olympics with everyone wearing spandex?!
SUNDAR: Five billion nine hundred and ninety-nine other people don’t. They want the fashion.
We notice that you take the sports commentary very seriously.
HIBBSY: It adds such a dimension to the game. I think it’s more for the fans, and it distracts the players, and that’s really the objective. To throw the players off their game. You want to throw as many wrenches into the act as possible, and the commentators are doing a great job of that.
Has love ever sprung up among the wickets?
HIBBSY: There’s a definite romance that builds. This game is more than just whacking balls. It goes far beyond that. But it’s also competitive sport. Along with romance, there’s war. So you’ve got to be prepared for a bit of everything. You can’t just come out here pussyfooting around, thinking you’re going to have your way with this court. It’s just not reality. Let’s just say, there’s a lot to consider. There’s strategy, there’s loyalty, there’s alliance, there’s a lot of complexity to this game.
So why is it such a wonderful summer sport?
SUNDAR: It’s probably not. But the British have a saying, “stiff upper lip.” And sticky wickets? We don’t care about them. We just don’t mind the sticky wickets.
May the best mallet win!
For more information about Baba’s Croquet tournaments, go to http://babascroquet.blogspot.com.