Updated: July 21, 2020 11:29 PM
Created: July 21, 2020 08:43 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Over the next two weeks, we're going to see a lot of coverage of the return of the major American sports leagues.
And while it's great to be able to watch those games on TV, there's a sport here in Rochester that is already in action... and it's a sport for athletes of all ages.
As quickly as a mallet smacks a ball, the athletes are ready for competition. And yes, while croquet isn't the most common stick-and-ball sport, it's a game that everyone can play, just like 82-year-old Lee Kirk. Three years ago Kirk traded in his golf clubs for croquet mallets.
"As far as golf is concerned it's completely the opposite, but yet it gives you the ability to stretch, kneel and swing and everything else,” says Kirk. “If you can't play golf, croquet is a great start, if you're on the court you're moving all the time and I consider it exercise."
The Rochester Croquet Club meets four times a week and is open to athletes of all ages who hope to test their skill with the wickets.
"Anybody can play, we have people in their late 80s playing, members as you as 13 and people as young as 5 playing," Rochester Croquet Club member Sue Sherer said.
A leisurely activity to be sure, some members of the Rochester Croquet Club are elite players, like U.S. Croquet Hall of Famer and three-time national champion Rich Curtis.
"Once you get into a tournament and fighting for a prestigious win it's as competitive as anything else,” Curtis said. “It can be very social, but when you're playing for the national championships it means everything to you."
But even away from the spotlight of a national championship match, croquet is a social sport for the young and old, men and women and most importantly, for those who want to remain active.
"I've met wonderful people here and I have good friends here and I'm grateful to be part of the Rochester Croquet Club,” Kirk said.
The Rochester Croquet Club plays at the Grace and Truth Sports Park in Hilton and always welcomes new members. They hope to have a tournament in August if health conditions remain favorable.
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