Math and chemistry face off in the 20th annual croquet match
Tradition of all kinds are embraced by the Centre College community, including those of a competitive nature. In the 20 years since it began, the annual croquet match between the chemistry and mathematics programs has become something students and faculty on both teams anticipate every year.
The game of croquet was far from a random choice of competition.
“I think the tradition of playing croquet goes back quite far with the chemistry program,” says John Wilson, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics. “I know when I arrived at Centre in 1985, the croquet games at chemistry picnics were already legendary.
“For some reason, in 1996 the chemistry and mathematics programs decided to have a friendly competition on the lawn in front of Olin complete with trophy—the Golden Mallet—to reside with the winning program until the next competition,” Wilson continues.
The croquet matches have evolved over the years, with professors now coaching students and helping them with strategy. Both programs have seen their fair share of glory.
“The early years were dominated by the chemists winning four of the first five competitions,” Wilson says. “For the next nine years, the matches were very close—math won four, chemistry won three and there were two ties.
“In recent years, the Golden Mallet has found a stable home in the glass-enclosed math trophy case on the first floor of Olin,” Wilson brags. “No current math student has felt the sting of croquet defeat in the annual affair. In fact, 2016 marked the seventh consecutive year the math team has won.”
While both programs enjoy the friendly croquet competition, it’s the chance to interact with others in the Centre community that the students and professors embrace.
“This is one of those Centre traditions where students and faculty have the opportunity to spend some time getting to know each other outside of the classroom,” Wilson says.
by Elizabeth Trollinger
October 7, 2016