Good God Almighty, I love croquet. For me, it is the perfect game. I enjoy many games, but I prefer those that maximize personal interaction: Monopoly, Risk, Diplomacy, D&D. I find games that involve a lot of silent waiting between turns to be tedious: Scrabble, chess, even Settlers. Croquet is all about relaxed enjoyment of the game and the people playing it. And to boot, it’s played outdoors in fine weather and bare feet.
I try to play every Sunday afternoon in summer. I’m a reasonably good player and I enjoy winning, but I enjoy playing even more than winning. This week, I played with two fellows who are better than me, plus my wife, a novice. We played doubles, as is customary. My wife accepted my request to be my partner. (She also accepted my proposal of marriage. She’s the best.) The field we have been using all summer was ankle-deep in clover. I brought a reel mower and I cut a small green around every wicket and connected them with narrow fairways. It was awesome. We ran around among the little yellow butterflies, the fresh-cut grass sticking to our feet; we cheered each other’s brilliant plays, commiserated over lousy plays, and wondered if we would be able to play croquet in Heaven. That conversation sort of bogged down in speculation over the role of Chance in Heaven, and how can a game be competitive if all the players are perfect.
Really all I was thinking was that the fellowship I enjoy during a friendly game of croquet is so simple and pure, I wonder how closely it presages the perfect fellowship of the Kingdom of God?
Over the summer we played every Sunday. Croquet. Heaven on Earth.