Take a tip from nonagenarian Tom Cleary: you’re never too old to try anything new.
The 94-year-old Toronto Croquet Club member is, arguably, one of the eldest “active” players in the state – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
In fact, he credits the sport for not only revitalising himself but helping him through an extremely tough period.
“My wife [Iris] died eight years ago; we’d been married 65,” Cleary said.
“So, I was totally devastated when she passed away.
“To be honest, I couldn’t stop crying for two years – I’d break down at the shops or at home.
“It was a terrible situation.
“Then, one day, a lady said to me: ‘why don’t you give croquet a go?’
“And, here I am; I’m now a regular.”
The former Wangi Power Station employee, who spent four decades in the energy industry, admitted it was the best decision he had made in a long time.
“When I got down here [at the Toronto club], the first person I saw was Kevin Davies, who I knew,” Cleary said.
“That relaxed me straight away.
“The people [here] are great; they’ve been utterly fantastic.
“I received all the assistance in the world when I started, which was a blessing.
“They’re excellent to be around – and I love the camaraderie.
“We’re all there for each other.”
As for croquet itself, Cleary admitted he was a “massive fan”.
“It’s a very serious game, even though it’s played in a friendly, relaxing environment,” he said.
“There is a lot of thinking – it’s very strategic.
“So, I love the challenge.
“Plus, croquet makes me happy.
“I’m down here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.
“And, I’d play on a weekend if it was on, too.
“It’s certainly given me a new lease on life.”
If you’re keen to pick up a mallet, contact a club near you:
- Toronto – [email protected]
- Branxton – [email protected]
- Cessnock – [email protected]
- Macquarie City – [email protected]
- EDSACC – [email protected]
- Moonan – 6546 4116
- Mt Sugarloaf – [email protected]
- Nelson Bay – [email protected]
- Newcastle National Park – [email protected]
- Tamworth – [email protected]
- Myall Park – [email protected]
- Maitland Croquet Club – [email protected]