It is now the middle of November and the 2016 croquet season is now officially over. At the beginning of the season I set out a few goals, one of which was to improve so much that my handicap would become ‘scratch’, this being zero.
Being ‘scratch’ means that a player can be considered an ‘A-Class’ player, and although I don’t currently see myself as an A-Class player, it’s an achievement none the less. There is no real fame or fortune linked with being an ‘A-Class Player’, I’m not about to be on a Z-listed reality TV programme, nor will I be recognised in a supermarket. What I do get with this title is a sense of achievement, satisfaction and above all else pride. I know that I have also made my family, friends, coached and sponsors proud, which in turn seems to bring a sense of community to my own little croquet world.
Perhaps I should take a moment to clarify what I mean by; ‘I don’t currently see myself as an A-Class Player’. I am immensely proud of what I have achieved in the three years of playing croquet and yes I have won some important games against some very good ‘A-Class’ players, but this does not by any means put me in the same class as these players. They have worked for years to achieve consistency, I have merely worked out that if I don’t make a mistake, I might get to win. Some of my opponents had played for over 25 years, played for their county and some for their country. Although I was lucky enough to play for my county this year, I am a long way away from playing for my country and have no illusions about how much I will need to practice, compete and challenge myself over the next few years to get there. I’m not entirely sure what I need to do for myself to be able to comfortably give myself the ‘A-Class’ title, but I’ll tell you when I get there.
In the meantime, there were a few people who said ‘You won’t get there’. I place no blame on those who didn’t have the faith that I would complete my mission to scratch, there really is no fault to place as they possibly had no idea of my internal dedication and commitment to achieving my goal. So this isn’t about proving anyone wrong, this is about practice, patience and persistence.
Next year, my goals as a player will continue to be placed far high enough to be out of reach, but low enough to jump and grab hold of tight. But I think I would like to win a match… ‘Mission to win a match’… watch this space.