Croquet Slugger Vows to Fight Lifetime Ban

SHERBORN, Mass.  This bucolic town to the west of Boston is distinguished by its adherence to time-honored traditions, such as a volunteer fire department known for the conviviality it brings to the personal tragedy of watching one’s home burn to the ground.  “We always come with a picnic basket filled with strawberries, finger sandwiches and white wine,” says Assistant Fire Chief Edmund “Ned” Barker.  “It certainly eases the pain of losing that deductible.”


But that fidelity to the past is bumping up against the present at the Sherborn Croquet Club, where commissioner Asa Wharton yesterday handed down a life-time ban against young power-hitter Tompkins “Tom” Slater, III, an investment banker whose full-tilt approach to the sedate lawn game is raising eyebrows, as well as ire among long-time members.

“I gave him a citation when he walked on the court wearing his ‘Nantucket Reds’ instead of the required all-white uniform,” Wharton says, shaking his head grimly.  “He got a warning for excessive grunting when he ‘sent’ or ‘roqueted’ an opponent’s ball into Natick,” the blue-collar town to the east.  “But when we caught him with performance-enhancing drugs, that was it.”

“Dude–killer shot!”

The banned substance–a can of Miller Lite beer–is prohibited in league matches without a doctor’s prescription that a player requires it for health or safety reasons.  “It helps keep my hay fever under control,” Slater says as he takes a sip from an eight-ounce can.  “Also, I lose my balance when I get drunk, but I can drink light beer all day long and only get moderately sloshed.”

“It’s my turn, dammit!”

Croquet is a sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops (often called “wickets” in the United States) embedded in a grass playing court.  It is a form of “ground billiards” that is played for fun by the overwhelming majority of proletarian participants, but is taken seriously by those with too much money and time on their hands.

“I don’t take this step lightly,” Wharton said as he notified Bruce Pastenak, coach of Slater’s team, the Wellesley Wealth Advisors.  “In fact, I want to come down hard, like I’m crushing a bug just to watch the juice run out.”

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