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8/26/14

Playing Hardball with the Amish



Playing Hardball with the Amish

                Being blessed with the opportunity to live surrounded by the wonderful Amish community here in beautiful southern Pennsylvania, we are consistently enamored with the strong, close-knit family and friend relationships that are quite evident.  Certainly, the Amish are well known for their simple way of life and the associated need for both community and hard work.  This bodes the question: How, while working extremely hard together with no modern conveniences, do the Amish….well…keep from strangling each other?

                “What Works Together Must Play Together”!  Taking a leisurely drive through the rolling countryside on a nice Sunday afternoon you are most certain to see a vast array of “outdoor togetherness” going on.  Sports are always a favorite.  Of course, there’s the ol’ pigskin for the young men and boys.  Soccer and volleyball are also frequently seen as a popular “recreational community-building opportunity”.  Unfortunately, all of these sports are inherently dominated by more youthful participants.  (I chuckle thinking of a flowing, white-bearded elder going deep to catch a bomb.)  However, there is one activity – one “outdoor togetherness” pastime – that the entire community can and does enjoy!

                And just which sport is it that allows the entire community to participate?

From waddling toddlers in their bright pastels to bonnet-clad women to that flowing, white-bearded elder?  HARDBALL!  That’s right, HARDBALL!  No, not THAT hardball – CROQUET!




What a classic backyard game.  Dare I say, the perfect “outdoor togetherness” activity!  It can be played virtually anywhere, quick set up, easy cleanup, simple concept, no pads or helmets, no injuries (must adhere to rules & proper croquet etiquette) and enjoyed by all.  Most importantly, it allows for active face-to-face communication and socializing to occur throughout the entire game.




                Whenever I bring up my affinity for croquet, more often than not I hear, “Oh, man!  I remember THAT game!  It was great!”.  Why is this?  Why would the perfect “outdoor togetherness” activity have fallen out of favor in backyards and parks across America…the world?  While we’re at it, why are people so seemingly rude and self-centered these days?  Why is the country so divided?  Heck, why is the world a blaze?  Well, at least we can take some solace in the fact that the Amish community is working and playing together just fine.  Hmmmm….

                If you would like to learn about the history of croquet, the game itself or even purchase a set handmade by Pennsylvania Amish craftsman utilizing generations of finely honed skills for a game that binds their community together, we recommend the following:

History of Croquet

                Common Consensus:

                “The sport of croquet was born in the British isles in the mid 19th century and soon migrated to most other English-speaking countries.”

                “The sport resurfaced in the 20's, 30's, and 40's as a favorite pastime of famous entertainment and literary figures, including the Algonquin Roundtable.”

               


               
                 Earlier Origins:

                “As long ago as the fourteenth century, peasants in Brittany and Southern France amused themselves playing a game called Paille Maille, in which crude mallets were used to knock balls through hoops made of bent willow branches.”

            


CROQUET: The Game

      Variations:

                Association, Golf, Garden, American Six-wicket, Nice-wicket, Ricochet, Gateball and extreme croquet are some of the variations of the game.





                Rules:

                The following is a very useful link with detailed rules and diagrams for Garden Croquet and also offers other variations as well.



AMISH HANDMADE CROQUET SETS: 
      
Of course, we are quite partial to these, but we’re also partial to THE BEST!










 


Thanks for reading & visiting!  Make it a great today!

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