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Croquet: saving children from a life of crime

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3561284837_a8dbd99bbbIt sounds like the premise of a Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler sports laff-a-thon, but indeed there is a young man in New Zealand who was headed for a far stickier wicket than he would find on croquet lawns. (Yeah, croquet nerds, I know no one outside of the United States calls those u-shaped hoops you hit the balls through a wicket.)

From the Dominion Post in New Zealand:

Aiken Hakes was heading toward a life in prison until croquet and one man who mentored him turned his life around.

Twenty-one-year-old AJ, as he is known, is now a New Zealand croquet representative who is ranked 54th in the world. Now based in Wellington, he said he owes his fresh start in life to Masterton man Duncan Adair, who was honoured last week in Masterton’s civic awards.

AJ made his debut on the world croquet stage competing in the 2006 world croquet golf championships, and has recently returned from competing in the 2009 world champs and the Australian champs.

Ten years ago, till Mr Adair and croquet came into his life, he had no confidence and was running amok, he said. “I was only 11 and came from a very bad family background and I had real attitude.

“When I met Duncan in 1999 through a community fundraising project, he took me under his wing. I continued to rebel and racked up a court history over the years but finally, because of Duncan and the love of the sport he introduced me to, I am back on the right track.

“If it wasn’t for that guiding hand and a passion for the sport he showed me, I would be in jail without hope today.”

With croquet taken, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler are going to have to look at a laff-a-thon about how professional checkers saved someone from rotting in prison.

Written by rkcookjr

December 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm