Photo Above - Carl Robertson relaxing in Surfers Paradise hotel, the week after the 2002 Nationals.
"That moment when you don't want to play croquet."
There are going to be times when you simply don't want to be there playing the game. There are going to be times when you know you would rather be somewhere else, other than right there, right then, on the croquet lawn, mallet in your hand, the realisation dawning upon you that the only way you would have a realistic chance of winning the game against the person is by doing a TPO (triple peel on the opponent) and pegging both your ball and the opponents ball out for a single ball dog battle.
This is probably enough for you, to call the referee over, tell them you can think of a million things (well not a million, but close) better to do, rather than setting out on what may seem the inevitable and then knowing that you are probably going to lose by the closest of margins which would then lead you to ask yourself, "was this worth missing the Western Derby (West Coast Eagles vs Fremantle Dockers)for?"
The answer, if you are a HUGE footy fan is, no. If you're one of those people that put croquet above footy, then yes.
If no, read no further. If yes, then take note.
Look at the challenge you have laid right at your feet. The daunting prospect of having to set out on a TPO, then a peg out for a two ball game.
Look at the excitement, the exhilaration, the supsense that you know will come with the two ball game.
It always does, which is why more people should peg both balls out when they play the TPO tactic.
But this is not about the advantages or disadvantages of the TPO and two ball game.
This is not about the challenges, excitement and suspense that comes with the game at hand.
This is about the footy fan, who would rather be at home in his favourite sofa, watching well paid athletes beat the jeepers out of each other to get the ball between the two tallest posts for six vital points that will go a long way in determining the winner of the Western Derby.
This is about the player who would rather be doing that but is (un)fortunately stuck on the croquet lawn playing in the final of a tournament for perhaps pride only (what? no money purse!)and trying to work out how the heck he or she is supposed to get into the mood for the game.
The game is not even twenty minutes old and the opponent has already done a break of nine. It dawns upon you that the only way you are going to win this game is to do the TPO.
The visions of football are going through your head. You try to focus on the task at hand. It isn't easy, it never is. But that's tough. You are going to have to forget about footy for the next hour. It's too bad that you ain't at home watching the action.
Instead, you're living the action. You have your own crowd. Your own supporters and those who might be against you (but we never think about that kind of thing, or do we?). This is sport, this is a game, the only difference is that you are in the game, you are playing the moments that the supporters will remember the moment that game is over and perhaps for many days to come.
This is enough reason for you to somehow wake out of that slumber and focus on the job on hand.
If for some reason, the issue is a personal one, a tragic one, then you have all the reason in the world not to want to be there on the croquet lawn, right then, right now, swinging a mallet between your legs.
But if its something like footy.
GET OVER IT!
If you are still finding it hard, if the stats of the players and the situations of the footy match are swarming your brain, instead of where the heck the opponents ball is supposed to go or when you should peel the hoop, then you are going to have to look at the alternatives to get your mind back on track.
Here are the tips, helpful or not, they are tips - nevertheless.
(1) If you must, think of the footy or whatever while you are playing the game.
(2) You may have taped the game so you can watch it when you get back home. Good, now concentrate on the TPO.
(3) Someone there has gotta have their radio with them, get them to holler out the latest score after every peel.
(4) Just think of the prestige and pride you'll get if you win the game.
(5) Remind yourself over and over that you will not play in this tourney next year if it clashes with the Western Derby then tell yourself over and over "I'm gonna kick this person's ....."
Remember, it doesn't have to be about footy, it could have been about anything. Anything that made you want to not be there. If these tips don't even make you sit up and take notice, then it can't be helped. Maybe you know of another tip that hasn't been mentioned. If are still in the state of mind of not wanting to be there, then you may have to get yourself checked in for evaluation.
Still no luck. Then that leaves no choice but to bring out your black diary and label in there - "Attention, do not play in this tourney next year."