Wicket Games

Grab a cocktail and go clubbing

It's always a blast to get trashed while watching your favorite sport. But how about getting trashed while playingit? Thanks to 19th-century English bluebloods who made it a hit, croquet offers the perfect marriage of cocktails and athletics. It's not beyond the croquet lifestyle to nurse a gin and tonic while wearing a white polo shirt and calling your opponents "chum." So, if you're looking for a summertime activity that doesn't require a lot of running, jumping or, hell, cardio, get with the Houston Croquet Association. The group offers free lessons on clubbing balls through wickets every week. Or, nab some croquet paraphernalia -- we suggest Toys "R" Us or eBay -- and start your own "extreme" croquet tournaments. Invent your own rules by taking cues from other extreme leagues like those in Friendswood or even San Francisco, where the rulebook states, "Hitting another player's beer results in two extra turns." Take the action to a park or a dense, rough patch in the woods. Lay down some twigs, rocks or even your dog -- if he'll stay; just don't hurt Rover -- as obstacles. It's one part mini-golf and one part lawn croquet -- on acid. Oh, and don't forget the alcohol. For information on the Houston Croquet Association, visit www.houstoncroquet.com. For information on local extreme croquet, visit www.aggiecroquet.com. -- Steven Devadanam Peak AirtimeOkay, you've been meaning to go skydiving, but jumping out of a perfectly good plane makes you a little nauseous. And that bungee-diving thing is so 1998. Still, you're always a little jealous of those hang gliders you see on beer commercials. It's time to take your landlubber ass to Clear Lake, where you can catch air via the benign sport of parasailing. Just jump on a boat, where you'll be fitted into a harness before a hydraulic winch lifts you slowly in the air. Next thing you know, you'll be sailing 300 feet high as your friends down below become specks. Fly the friendly skies from 10 a.m. to dusk on weekdays and 9 a.m. to dusk on weekends. Nassau Bay Hilton Hotel, 3000 NASA Road 1. For information, call 281-333-2816. $45. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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