In the mood for some beach croquet? Well, too bad. The 5th Annual World Team Beach Croquet Invitation is, you guessed it, invitational. Not any croquet-playing crackpot off the streets of OOB can show up and play. However, if you are in the mood for some entertainment in the sun, you should definitely head down to Old Orchard this Sunday, July 8th to cheer at the sidelines as these impressive athletes play perhaps the greatest American spectator sport known to man: croquet.
Started by the Reid family of Cape Elizabeth, this tournament was born out of their natural competitive nature and long-time affinity for Isaac Spratt. If you find yourself wondering why the H did this family choose croquet for a tournament? then co-founder of the tournament, Matty Reid’s words will allay your confusion (kind of): “Bocce ball didn’t catch on with us until relatively recently. Not many of us can throw a frisbee and whether it be baseball or golf, my family has always been attracted to swinging an object while coming into contact with another object. So, in a lot of ways croquet seemed to be the most logical choice.”
Matty wanted to make a few things clear about the tournament.
1) The athletes will be competing on the actual beach. On the hard sand. Not the soft sand. Because, as Matty put it, playing on the soft sand “would not only take another three days to finish the tournament but would just look ridiculous.”
2) There is a Committee serving as the end-all, be-all of the game decision-making. This “committee” consists of three members of the Reid family: Dave Sr., Dave Jr., and Matty.
3) Again, it’s “invitational” so if you happen to be walking by with your croquet…mallet(?), sorry champ, but you’re probably going to be a lone wolf on the sand a few yards away. However, if a new athlete gets wind of this tournament and really wants to participate, you can contact the “Committee” and they’ll try to make it work. But what they really want to emphasize is that while it’s “invitaitonal” to play, they really want you to come down, hang out, grill some food, and have a good time with them in the glorious summer sun.
4) Here’s the set up for the tourney: first round consists of groups of teams (3-4 teams depending on numbers for the year). Those groups play and the top two teams advance to the next group (the semi finals). The top two teams from those groups advance to the finals. The lucky (or skilled) winner will be granted bragging rights for the year and a wooden trophy with a broken croquet mallet glued to it.
4) Most importantly, this year’s tournament (and all tournaments henceforth) will be dedicated to Teresa Parker and TC Dufour, two women who both lost their lives to cancer this past year. Despite their breast cancer diagnoses, neither one ever lost their incredible spirit. Matty told me “they both had amazing, genuine personalities and were loved by all.” In honor of these women and their couragageous fight against cancer, players in the tournament are asking for sponsors. Matty is asking his sponsors to donate $10 if his team wins, $5 if they come in second, and $3 if they make the final group. All money raised will be donated to the Maine Cancer Foundation. They will also be making t-shirts this year, sold for 10$ a piece, and those proceeds will go to the Maine Cancer Foundation, as well.
Well there you have it folks–a cool, weird event for a fantastic cause. I have met the Reid family and let me tell you, they are a hoot. So bring some hot dogs, wear your finest speedo (you’ll be in OOB, remember?), and go on down to kick it at the beach in the name of good. You know what would be really cool? If you brought your friends and bought some t-shirts.