Croquet - a historyWritten by Peter Jay
Croquet is a classic yard game that has been played for centuries all over Europe. A game similar to croquet is believed to have been played in Ancient Rome. The current version of croquet, however, originated in about 14th century by French peasants who used wooden mallets to hit wooden balls through wickets made from willow branches. Croquet became popular in Ireland in early eighteen hundreds and transferred to England around 1851. It quickly became popular and spread throughout colonial empire, reaching virtually every area of British colonial rule by year 1870. Traditionally, croquet was played on a professional playing field, with grass trimmed, similar to a golf course. At turn of century, however, Americans, disagreeing with new English rules outlawing mallets with rubber heads, and introducing a six-wicket court, maintained their own version of nine-wicket croquet. Many Americans also developed a more simple and rugged version of nine-wicket croquet, which could be played casually in their own backyards. This is version of croquet that many Americans know and play today. The well trimmed croquet field is still used in professional play, both in America and at international level. Croquet was a popular game among youth of British Empire, who could use it to socialize and flirt without their parents constantly peering over their shoulders. It was initially more popular among women, but in 1874 there was a decline in popularity of game among women, because it was becoming too scientific. The game also decreased in popularity as lawn tennis began to replace it, bringing in more money than croquet. As games popularity declined in England, it increased in America. In 1865, Newport Croquet Club in Rhode Island was formed. In 1871, Milton Bradley published “Croquet – Its Principles and rules.” In New York, in 1882, twenty-five clubs from National American Croquet Association. The game met with some setbacks in America, when in 1890’s, game was condemned by Boston clergy, who spoke against it because of its association with drinking, gambling, and licentious behavior. Croquet was played as an Olympic sport in 1900 and 1904 Olympic Games.
Success Doesn't Always Come EasyWritten by Dave Cole
On a raw, cold day in European Alps, Lance Armstrong steered his bike into sleeting snow, then stopped. His partner riding in car behind him urged Lance to give it up for day and return to comfort of his shelter.
But Lance Armstrong considered himself a winner, and a person who was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish his goals. With frigid cold and wailing wind biting at his back, Armstrong said, "No, I'm going on."
Hopping back on his bike he rode for seven more hours, in that storm.....alone. Lance was determined, determined to win ......and win three week, 2,290 mile Tour de France bicycle race he did!
He won because he was willing to do absolutely anything, including riding in weather conditions when no one else would ride.
Growing up his mother Linda taught Lance a most valuable lesson he never forgot: "Son, you never quit." That lesson was to prove invaluable to Armstrong in 1996.
After winning Tour Dupont and competing in Olympics, Lance became ill and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. At one point, his doctors gave him chances of surviving at less than 50%.
Undergoing chemotherapy and even a very risky brain surgery to remove cancerous lesions, Armstrong became physically weak, but managed to stay mentally strong.
He began to set goals of having his blood counts being at levels doctors told him they should be. Lance would actually visualize his counts meeting doctors hoped for marks. He says, "I would concentrate on that number, as if I could make counts by mentally willing it."