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Tribute to Pat Waters

Don Cook & Bill Rowat  | Published on 5/30/2020
Hello Everyone - it is with great sadness that we report Pat Waters' passing on Friday, May 29th. Pat was a driving force and had a rich history as a member of our Bayfield International Croquet Club.

Perhaps many current BICC members may not fully appreciate one very important legacy of Pat's involvement in BICC. After being accepted for membership in the fall of 1985 at a time when BICC was, to say the least, a more closed organization that we have today, Pat wasted little time displaying Tommy Douglas-like vigor in addressing a perceived inequity. Never one to be reticent about making a radical proposal, Pat sent shock waves through the AGM in 1986 by proposing that women should be allowed to become full playing members. Years later, Pat would take great delight relating, as only he could, some extreme negative reaction that immediately ensued. 

Undaunted by this initial setback, Pat employed more informal lobbying efforts until finally, in 1993, a full 7 years later, Gayle Waters and Dorothy Hardy were accepted as the first women members and began play in 1994. Today, the significant female presence and flavour in BICC owes much to the early efforts of Pat Waters.

In addition to serving on the Tournament Committee for decades, ensuring fairness at every juncture, Pat regularly played in most of BICC's annual tournaments. He showed great pride in the fact that he and Mike Yuhasz had won the Founder's Cup on three separate occasions, but became even more proud to see Gayle's team eclipse that record. During tournament play, Pat could often be seen closely monitoring Gayle's play as much as his own.

Pat served as President of BICC in 1999. Anyone in attendance at the President's Reception that year, hosted at the Water's home will remember it as being memorable. Pat had solicited letters of congratulations from all of the Ontario political party leaders; the letters were so articulate that some suspicious members questioned their provenance. Not surprisingly, the most finely crafted and supportive letter apparently originated from the desk of NDP leader, Howard Hampton.

Pat often acted as one of the club's mentors for new players over the years, eagerly giving free of his time and advice. He always recalled that when he began playing, you were essentially on your own, as no members helped newcomers learn the game. Over the years, while gaining a deep understanding of the intricacies of Association Croquet, Pat reversed this situation as many current players learned the four ball break and various forms of his notorious canon shots from Pat. He became known for the "Pat Waters Opening" (putting the first ball to centre court), intended to confuse the opposition. This audacious move had been floating around in international croquet circles for many years but did not attain an official name at BICC until Pat perfected it. Here's hoping the "Pat Waters Opening" lives on in BICC parlance for years to come!

A native of Saskatchewan, Pat was well known for his socialist leanings and rarely missed an occasion to enthrall attendees at any BICC social occasion with a speech on the merits and morality of social democracy and the NDP - usually to the booing and hissing of his inconsiderate BICC friends and colleagues. Ever the consummate host, when you heard the wine glass tinkling, you knew Pat would expect your full and immediate attention for his upcoming toast.

Tireless long hours spent officiating at BICC events, roll shot approaches at every hoop, the hitching up of the pants after each stroke - Pat will be sorely missed by his many close friends in BICC.

Written by Don Cook and Bill Rowat