What once began as a friendly match between two neighboring institutions has now become one of the biggest spring events Annapolitan spectators look forward to. I recently visited St. John’s campus to find out a little more about this event. I first sat down with former St. John’s Athletic Director, Leo Pickens, to talk about this historic rivalry – a rivalry that has been around for the past 35 years. Then, I took to the field with the Imperial Wicket (croquet captain) Shane to discuss the upcoming match.
The “Johnnies” and the “Mids” vie for the coveted Annapolis Cup during this annual rite of spring. The croquet match brings together two starkly different institutions for an event Sports Illustrated says has “no parallel in intercollegiate sports.” Attendees dress “Great Gatsby-style” while enjoying a lavish lawn party that includes serenades by the St. John’s Freshman Chorus and swing music provided by the Naval Academy’s Trident Brass Band. The “Johnnies” play in different “uniforms” each year – ranging from camouflage khakis, to U.S. Naval Academy imitation Crackerjack, to Vikings’ attire, to bare feet. The “Mids” follow the United States Croquet Association dress code.
Even though this coveted experience has sold out this year, one thing is for certain: The Croquet Match will certainly be back next year to continue the tradition and celebrate springtime.
Video courtesy of Patrick McNamara of Drawn to the Image