Alman founded the magazine in the mid-nineties, a few months after putting the American national croquet organization on the web with the USCA website, which he managed for ten years. He could never have afforded a croquet career without the sustaining support of Ellery McClatchy, an early president of the Croquet Foundation of America whose monthly stipends kept Bob in the writing and editing business for almost two decades..
In his 80th year, Alman realized that the best chance of having the magazine continue to explore the history and development of the sport and its players and the events was to give it to the Croquet Foundation of America, which had made it possible in the first place. At the same time, the club that was the focus of his energy for 20 years--the San Francisco Croquet Club--gave him a grant to finance the redesign.
Why would the Croquet Foundation of America want to own Croquet World Online Magazine? That's what the CFA board asked themselves when the idea was first proposed. So because he had worked very well with Hal Denton on an article (HOW TO LIGHT THE COURTS) Alman suggested that Hal take on the project to condition it thoroughly for the board. Hal Denton agreed to so that, after asking all the right questions and getting most of them answered.
Hal Denton is now CFA President
The Editorial Advisory Board will have nothing to "do" but be responsible for the health of the magazine within the context of the CFA. Issues will inevitably arise, and this editorial board can propose solutions that will be do-able as well as cost- effective. Theoretically this will prevent any temptation of a future CFA board to misuse the magazine to advance its own agenda above everything else, or to cover up misdeeds of any croquet organization, anywhere in the world--including the USA.
Denton understands that kind of thinking. If readers don't trust the magazine to be editorially independent of all croquet organizations, it has no value. The assertive members of the EAB, pledged to the independence of the magazine, would revolt. The Editorial Advisory Board should not be timid in speaking up publicly about all matters croquet.
Transferring "ownership" of a digital magazine takes some time, in various stages. The domain name--www.CroquetWorld.com--will not legally go to the Foundation until some time in 2020, at which time the Editorial Advisory Board will report directly to Hal Denton. It's possible that Bob Alman will still be involved in the magazine until his death. In any case, his will deliver the entire magazine contents including the domain name to the Croquet Foundation of America. His entire estate, turned into cash, will go the Foundation for the magazine's continuing support.
The magazine's Editorial Advisory Board
All the members are extraordinarily competent people experienced in writing, editing, and managing publishing projects, with personal histories overlapping Alman's many times. Mike Orgill and Bob Alman virtually invented themselves as croquet players before they ever heard of the USCA; Rhys Thomas became a fan of the San Francisco Open and often came up early to help the legendary Wayne Rodoni lay out his perfect courts. Ian Plummer was hosted by Bob and the SFCC on a California tour of his Oxford group in the late nineties and has since provided valuable services to the magazine out of his expertise in creating and managing croquet's superb and now voluminous technical site, Oxford Croquet.
The Editorial Advisory Board are looking for a fourth member, from either Australia or New Zealand. Given the extensive publishing material of the first three members, the fourth does not need to have that kind of experience, but does need to have an assertive and independent spirit.
Biographies that spiral in concert
Mike Orgill was born in Brooklyn and educated in New York, After three decades in the East, he settled in San Francisco. He worked for Erhard Seminars Training and other San Francisco companies before undertaking a two-decade career with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.
Mike and Bob Alman co-invented their separate croquet careers. Bob met Mike at a party held at Bob's apartment by request of his roommate, Bonnie Simpson, who worked for the same company as Mike. Mike told Bob during the party "and they have an opening for another writer." Thus started a long and most consequential era in Bob's life. They became friends and co-invented a nine-wicket club of friends who played on weekends, before they ever heard of the USCA or knew that croquet was an organized sport.
It was Mike who insisted they join the fledgling San Francisco Croquet Club in the early 80's, and Mike who said the club should have an annual tournament, which started the SF Open in 1985, the same year Mike joined the at Sonoma-Cutrer club in Sonoma County when he moved to Sonoma County where he and his wife Helen still live. He is the president of the Sonoma-Cutrer club, and currently a member of the WCF management committee.
Bob knows Rhys as one of the kindest and most compassionate figures in croquet. He debated with himself for years about publishing his memoir of Mik Mehas, whom he knew intimately, beginning with their early croquet history at the Beverly Hills Croquet Club. We finally decided that it was a useful, insightful piece of journalism, so it was published in 2018.
When asked to join the EAB, Ian made it clear that he was a strong and outspoken advocate of Association Croquet. Bob said that was okay, because opinionated and outspoken people are essential to have that board work. Alman refers articles too technical for Croquet World to Oxford Croquet and often links to articles on the site, including this article by Ian on "Refereeing Lawncraft."
Reuben Edwards, the long-time webmaster of Croquet World, first witnessed the sport being played in Golden Gate Park in mid nineties. He came and watched for several days. When he finally picked up a mallet, he already understood the game, and quickly became a competent player after he joined the club. Along with Karen Collingwood and others, he helped Bob Alman manage corporate and private events for the club--the source of most of it's wealth.
Edwards intends to rebuild the croquet club in Stern Grove, while residing in Oakland, across the bay, and managing the now-thriving Oakland Croquet Club as its president. Having been involved in almost everything that can happen to a website over the last 20 years as webmaster, he will be a valuable resource for the advisory board, but will not "vote" except in the case of a tie in the four-person board.
As a body, the Editorial Advisory Board will resolve to ensure the magazine's continued absolute editorial independence as the global voice of the sport.
The nuts and bolts of ownership in publishing
As the owner of this magazine, the Croquet Foundation of America is now its publisher. Denton's elevation in the CFA, with his management/oversight of the CWOM project, makes him therefore its "executive editor." All of which accords with a joint intention that nobody "owns" the magazine, and that the editor and the Editorial Advisory Board can be "responsible" for it without creating a situation in which the "executive editor" needs to intervene editorially, because the editorial board would have recommended the correct action/remedy.
Harold Denton joined the board of the Croquet Foundation of America in 2013 because, he said, "there was a lot of work to be done at the National Croquet Center and not enough hands to do it." Among the projects he chose were "beautification" and the court lighting initiative already sparked by longtime board member Victoria Albrecht. Denton perfected the existing plan by balancing practical and efficient alternatives with code requirements.
Denton takes all his board assignments seriously, doing them completely, and even funding some of them. In his spare time, he rescues pre-Revolutionary manor houses, several in New Jersey and two in Maryland, where he now lives with his wife in the summer. Supervising those projects has produced the ideal resume for the board member responsible for all the facilities at the NCC, including some beautification projects he has personally funded.
Denton's unique value to the CFA board is knowing when not to get involved and when, on the other hand, to be deeply involved in fixing something or producing a needed result. He has a special relationship with the ground crew, which he demonstrated recently when the 20-years-old irrigation went down. He talks with the head of the ground crew regularly, and between them, they figure out the what/where/when and how-soon issues that as a practical matter lead to the best economy as well as the best result. (Bringing the Palm Courts up to spec, for example, works better over a two-year period of gradual improvement than a "rip-it-all-out-and-start-over approach which is very costly and not necessary.)
In managing the installation of the National Croquet Center's court lighting, Denton starting with the end result and worked backwards. What he eventually found was that parking lot lights would do the job for croquet courts--which have very different requirements from the football or tennis lighting, for example, that he could have bought from a catalog and installed at much greater expense.
Who is James Hawkins?
Hawkins says of himself, "I came to competitive croquet as a teenager in 1985, losing my first ever game against future World Champion Chris Clarke. Three decades later, I spend less time playing and more time coaching. I am the author of 'Complete Croquet: A Guide To Skills, Tactics and Strategy'. I live is Liverpool, UK, and am the founder of Liverpool Croquet Club."
But there is much more to say about James, and the most relevant is his two separate terms of editorship of the English Croquet Association's Croquet Gazette, and his experience in designing croquet websites. The many articles he has written for Croquet World, gratis, show his competence as a writer. With both writing and management experience with croquet websites, at the age of 50, he could have a long run as editor of Croquet World Online.
Look for an all-new CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE to be online near the middle of the year 2019, with most of the present articles converted to the new design.
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