It was hot and humid the day of the annual croquet tournament. Some of the volunteers had arrived to Downing Park at 9:30 that Sunday morning to start setting up the croquet courts. The tournament is a favorite event among the volunteers. Who could blame them considering most of the time is spent outside in a beautiful park. The heat was expected. It was August. However, it wasn’t expected to that degree. Looking around at each of the volunteers’ foreheads and sweat sat suspended between their skin and the moisture in the air. By the time the registration table opened, the setup crew with their rope guides, tape measures and mallets assembled 11 courts.
The heat took its toll and may have kept the majority of last year’s players from returning to Downing Park. Last year more than 80 visitors competed and spectated. This year, half made it out. To be exact, there were 12 volunteers, 10 spectators and 24 players competing on 4 courts.
The heat, however, failed at preventing the event from becoming enjoyable for those who attended. Twelve teams of two battled it out on the lawn of the beloved park. Some more competitive than others like the members of Team 3, Melinda Dooley and Jeff Mitchell of Newburgh, who were eventually crowned the tournament champions.
Players who fell to defeat found renewal at the refreshment table.
Thanks to our co-organizers, the Newburgh Preservation Association and the Downing Park Planning Committee, there was plenty of food and drinks available – lemonade, water, sodas, sandwich wraps, and, of course, ice pops.
Overall, the tournament was a success. The weather certainly had an effect on attendance, but we made the best of the occasion. We did our best to stay cool, the games went on and no one was hurt. We’re looking forward to doing it all over again next year!