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John Lavalle

John Lavalle

There is one game we all played as children
And we thought it was oodles of fun,
But now it's more Wicket than Mayhem
and is not played with Mallets toward none!

Now some people call the game Croky
While others pronounce it Crow Kay
When your balls get hung up in a wicket
It don't matter much what you say!

This beginning to one of John Lavalle's Southampton Clubs Annual Luncheon poems is but a small example of this big, urbane man's multiple talents. A renowned portrait artist and landscape painter, President of the Southampton Bathing Corporation and to many "Mr. Southampton" for his leadership in the arts, club and social life, John will be most remembered by American croquet buffs for his role as a key architect of the Rules we play today. It was back in the late 50's and early 60's that John, together with fellow Hall of Famer Milton "Doc" Holden, the "Duke of Marlborough" and several other croquet leaders set down the basic tenants combining the American and English rules in a little yellow tablet entitled The Rules and Instructions for the Game of Croquet as Played in Southampton. Until his passing in 1971, John was to see this booklet become the "commandments" of croquet in Palm Beach, Bermuda and Jamaica. In 1976, with a few modifications, these rules became the guideposts for the USCA Standard Six Wicket Game.

Thus the contest continues till darkness
Though the players look slightly confused,
For their balls have been spread out all over the place
And no one knows whose balls are whose!

Perhaps not quite, but certainly better thanks to you, John.

John Lavalle was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1980.

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