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Mallets Aforethought
Franz Lidz
September 04, 1995
Eighth-grader Jacques Fournier is a tough cookie in tournament competition
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September 04, 1995

Mallets Aforethought

Eighth-grader Jacques Fournier is a tough cookie in tournament competition

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"Two dogs and a macaw. And two cats, Young Man and Princessa. I'd prefer you didn't put the cats' names in the article, though."

"Why not?"

" 'Young Man' and 'Princessa'? I mean, give me a break!"

The Arizona Croquet Club nearly didn't. When Jacques was new to croquet, Don asked his fellow members if his son could clunk and thwock around the club court. "One guy was against it," Jacques recalls. "He said he wouldn't be able to sit around and drink beer and tell dirty jokes. But now the guy has turned around. Now he's one of my biggest fans."

Since Jacques' success at the nationals, his fans have been getting bigger and bigger. The problem has been little people. "Hardly any kid my age wants to play with me," he says. "I do have one friend who will, but I have to beg him." To get an interesting game, Jacques has to ask his half-brother Don Jr., who's 35. "Don beats me in knock-up games," says Jacques. "I beat him at the nationals." Beat is putting it mildly. Don got creamed, 26-7. "He was probably a little surprised," Jacques says. "I think he doubted my capabilities and thought my strategy was unusual. Unlike a lot of the older guys, I try spectacular shots out of my critical distance." And more often than not, he makes them.

Jacques plots his future as carefully as a four-ball break. "I've always been good at talking my way out of trouble, so I had planned to become a lawyer," he says. "But after watching the O.J. trial, I've lost respect for attorneys."

In croquet, Jacques' greatest disappointment has been the color barrier. His black Nikes were blackballed at last year's nationals, and they will be banned again at this year's championships, which will take place in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sept. 17-23. "I'm still hoping Nike will sponsor me one day," he says wistfully. "Who wouldn't want to wear Air Fourniers?"

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