It’s springtime! Time to break out the mallets and wickets!
Awww, shi-it—missed the wicket –shot way too long—the red ball hurdles over the turned-on sprinkler and lands in the woods at the edge of suburbia. A member of the cool team, a cutie, follows me to the woods to ball hunt. My hot teammate watches from the court.
Guerrilla croquet, a variation of the classic 6 or 9-wicket game, is played with two teams: the “hot team” plays the warmly- hued balls (the reds and yellows) while the “cool team” plays the cooler colors (the blue and black balls). Nine wickets are set up ruggedly in long grass, woods, parks, drainage ditches, cemeteries, or abandoned construction–any place that a 100x 50 foot course can be laid out. But mostly, guerrilla croquet is played on backyards littered with lawn furniture, with the added difficulty of oscillating sprinklers dit-twacking water in the players’ faces as they concentrate on moving their ball through the wickets.
To get started, first refresh your memory of Backyard Croquet.
Then, forget the picky details involved in measuring out an evenly-spaced playing field. In guerrilla croquet, the helix shape of the course is borrowed from traditional croquet, but the wickets are not a set distance apart. Instead, they are placed willy-nilly and in challenging spots. Courts set up in public parks should incorporate both hills and trees if possible. Placing a group of wickets in a cluster of trees makes the game much more interesting.
Next, fish out the croquet set in the basement or buy a set. Crafty players will tire of flimsy, commercially available wickets and make their own, sturdier wickets from pvc pipe or metal. For ideas, visit the Extreme Croquet Organization. This group of players uses a metal “double wicket” for ultra play and gives diagrams for court lay-outs in varied terrains.
The best part of guerrilla croquet? Its informality- players should drink, swear, and never wear all-white.
End your day of guerrilla cricket with this tasty cocktail…
The Sticky Wicket
A lubricant for tight spots, tricky wickets and woodsy thickets. To create this drink, first infuse your own cognac with vanilla bean and fresh ginger.
Vanilla-Ginger Infused Cognac
1 bottle of good quality Cognac (I like Remy Martin for this)
1 vanilla bean, split open but NOT scraped (the pods add lots of flavor)
1 whole, washed, thumb-sized piece of ginger
Put all ingredients in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in a cool spot out of direct sunlight for two days. Whew. Flip the jar and let macerate two days more. Taste. Continue to macerate the cognac for up to 2 weeks according to your taste. It will grow increasingly spicy. Once ready, strain the vanilla pods and ginger and funnel the liquor back into the Cognac bottle.
For each drink:
Pour cold prosecco in a champagne flute and float about 1 TBSP. of homemade Vanilla-Ginger Cognac on top. Add a splash of bitters and garnish with twist of orange peel or piece of pickled ginger.