Extreme Sportsmanship

At New Paltz, croquet competitions are a common sight on the Old Main Quadrangle, and now a New Paltz student and co-founder of the New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society has placed first at the United States Croquet Association (USCA) National Championship.

New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society is one of the 168 student organizations at New Paltz that enhance the students’ co-curricular experience at a residential public collage that appeals to the diverse interests of the student population.

Student Justin Berbig recently showcased his love for the game of croquet at the championship level at the USCA Nationals on Nov. 8-14, in Mission Hills, Calif. Berbig was the only person from New Paltz to attend, as well as the only college student that competed.

Berbig, a senior majoring in history, won first place in his flight at the championship and also accepted a first place trophy in first flight doubles after he and his partner Micah Beck went undefeated.

Berbig is also president of the New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society, which is open to all.The group plays at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays on the Old Main Quad and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays in a variety of places.

The New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society was founded in the spring of 2007 by Berbig and fellow New Paltz student Eric Turner, a senior majoring in journalism.The group started with just a few friends playing croquet behind residence halls. Today, the club has more than 30 members and the members play several styles of croquet. The club competed in several tournaments for the first time this year.

“Coupled with an academic program, a co-curricular experience offers valuable interpersonal and communication skills, practical hands-on experiences, and a chance to make new friends while developing the social relationships that are necessary for a successful lifelong career track,” said Mike Patterson, director of student activities.
“Opportunities are endless when you are prepared to meet the challenge.”

“The purpose of the society is to play and showcase croquet in all its varieties,” said Berbig. “We push the sport to its limits and also indulge in the more respectable forms.”

Extreme croquet is a close version of the croquet played in most backyards and gardens, but expanded by more adventurous enthusiasts and played throughout the world in conditions unfamiliar to official tournament players.

A typical extreme croquet game starts with location scouting- searching for terrain that might present interesting and novel challenges. Play proceeds following the usual croquet rules with alterations generally designed to handle circumstance not found in the garden game. Berbig said that an unquantifiable resilience and spirit characterizes the play of extreme croquet, replacing the calm and sophistication commonly associated with tournament play.

For more information, contact The New Paltz Extreme Croquet Society, Berbig69@newpaltz.edu