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Cornelia Strong College

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Friday, 6 October 1997 | Per aspera ad astra | Newsletter No. 101


Third Annual Strong College Croquet Tournament a Spectacular Success!

The sky was blue and the grass was mostly green, and fun, food, hats, and contestants were everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of delighted people (well, maybe not that many, but whole lots) enjoyed the games and the company at the Third Annual Strong College Croquet Tournament this Saturday, October 4th, from noon to 3:00 p.m. on the College lawn. Three preliminary rounds were played and then the top finishers went up against each other in a final playoff. In the interludes the Best Hat Contest and the race around the building diverted the contestants and the crowd. Delicious and nutritious health food was served from the grill throughout the day.

The Contestants and the Champion!

The brave croquet warriors of the day were: Angela Albertson, Christina Caltagirone, Jay Ewing, Sherrill Hayes, Gwen Kovalak, Cecilia Ruth Lance, Kathleen Lance, Brenda Loehfelm, Michelle Marcelais, Shelly McLain, Lisa Meserve, Amanda Minter, Jennifer Parry-Hill, Greg Shealy, Scott Thomason, Todd Thomason, Amanda Waterhouse, Kyle Webster, Tim Williams, and Kelly Woodfin. Several Monarch Butterflies were offered the opportunity to enter but they reported that they were too busy trying to fly south. The competition among the players was fierce, and right up to the end the outcome was uncertain. But enough suspense. The winners of the Third Annual Strong College Croquet Tournament are:

       1997 Tournament Champion:    Scott Thomason
Second Place: Todd Thomason and Kyle Webster
Third Place: Angela Albertson

Scott’s name will soon be engraved on the silver Tournament trophy, and all future generations of Strong men and women will celebrate his greatness.

The Race!

A new event at this year’s tournament was the race with mallet and ball around the building. Five brave pioneers took their chances against each other and the Forces of Nature: Sherrill Hayes, April Katz, Gwen Kovalak, Beth Loehfelm, and Michelle Marcelais, and the winner was Beth Loehfelm, Brenda Loehfelm’s mother, demonstrating that finesse will always beat brute force (as the de-horned Mr. Hayes can now attest). The winning time was 3 minutes 28 seconds. That’s the time to beat for next year!

I Like That Hat!

And what would a croquet tournament be without a hat contest? Denise Tucker and her assistant Jennifer Rogers worked long and hard on the categories and the judging, and presented the following awards:

Biggest Hat:              Amanda Waterhouse and Juanita Caltagirone
Cheapest Hat:             Jeremy Giles and Adam Cox
Cutest Hat:               Tammy Thorarinson
Most Evolved Hat:         Michelle Marcelais and Hollie Jones
Most Fleckerish Hat:      Scott Thomason
Best Floral/Fruity Hat:   Pam Bulgin
Most Scholarly Hat:       Gwen Kovalak
Best Sci-Fi Hat:          Christina Caltagirone
Best Strong Man Hat:      Mac Bulgin and Sherrill Hayes
Most Victorian Hat:       Sara Pulley
Most Western Hat:         Todd Thomason
Most Worn Hat:            Mark Schumacher
Best Hat in Laurie White’s Opinion:    Laurie White and Angela Albertson
Best Overall Hat:         Denise Tucker and Jennifer Rogers
And Thank You!

The Croquet Tournament would have been utterly impossible without the help of a veritable army of bakers, grillers, movers, lenders, judges, cleaner-uppers, etc., including: Pam Bulgin, Christina Caltagirone, Adam Cox, Jay Ewing, Gwen Kovalak, Cecilia Ruth Lance, Kathleen Lance, Heather Lloyd, Amanda Minter, Mary Minter, Bob O’Hara, Jennifer Parry-Hill, Jennifer Rogers, Scott Thomason, Todd Thomason, Jan Tulloss, Eric Tysinger, Tim Williams, Laurie White, and Kelly Woodfin. Thank you and thank you to them all!


Today’s special edition Poem-of-the-Weekend is Keats’s “To Autumn” (1820), now an annual croquet tradition:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMERS: Nothing here is official. Please don’t sue us. I think it would be best if I waited in my alcove. Mind the gap. Is it really worth eating a steak if it might turn your brain into a sponge? May be harmful if swallowed. No caffeine. For external use only. Do not eat. Refrigerate after opening. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Machine washable and dryer safe. Choking hazard. Eye irritant. Crayons not included. Do not inhale. Who says you can’t fight City Hall if you’ve got 5000 eight year olds. If swallowed or lodged in ear or nose, promptly see doctor. 100% undetermined man-made fibers. Hold handrail. He knows about the flamingo. Read cautions on back. Rules subject to change. Point away from people while opening. Not a significant source of calories. Kids in the 1800s had a much longer attention span than I do. It’s terrible to get your life confused with someone else’s. I may not know much, but I know okra. Easy to clean vinyl lining. Will not craze most plastics. Easily slips beneath outerwear. Contains no squid. Shown actual size. Do not shake. When dry, brush lightly. Not to be used as a ride-on toy. The most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. Learning is no substitute for winning. Division I croquet by 2001. Vapors may cause flash fire. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning. If we succeed there will be many songs sung in our honor. The better our fantasies are, the better our realities can become. Think continually of those who were truly great. A decent boldness ever meets with friends. Risk—risk is our business; that’s what this starship is all about; that’s why we’re aboard her. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Resistance is futile.Per aspera ad astra!

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021