It’s true, some sports are society sports and some are not. Tennis, golf, horses and lacrosse are society sports, long indulged in by the wealthy or those wishing to affect it. Hockey and football are not, and neither is bowling. It doesn’t matter that the president has bowling lanes in the White House.

“Tennis, anyone?” is still universal shorthand for an idle rich attitude. Tennis can trace much of its upper-class origins to Henry VIII, who was a big fan as a young man, and according to history, wife Ann Boleyn was watching a match when she was arrested. Henry was supposedly also playing when she was beheaded. This is what you call a sliced backhand.

Golf has always been a universal favorite of gentlemen and an easy way to be exclusive. Since no one can afford their own golf course, it must be played at private clubs or in gated communities built for that purpose by those with money and status enough to do so. Like tennis, the game was also popular in medieval times with the nobility, and golfer Mary Queen of Scots was accused by her rivals of playing a sport unsuitable for women. Augusta carries on this tradition today.

Horses have been status symbols forever and riding instead of plowing behind one will always separate the elite from the society herd. Polo is synonymous with rich and, like golf, requires a lot of money plus a string of well-trained ponies and a club membership. Likewise, fox hunting requires a country estate and a pack of dogs.

Lacrosse is golf, tennis and polo combined for those who can’t afford horses or a pack of dogs.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmaildrop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

City Club hosts Pro-Am

The Cajun Tennis Classic kicked off as coaches and players alike gathered in appreciation of sponsors for some Sunday tennis. “It’s really, really high-caliber tennis that’s coming to town,” said City Club director of tennis Ashley Rhoney. “I can’t believe I’ve blackmailed so many into coming out.” No force needed after seeing this good-looking bunch, including Pierre Ros, ITA College Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Simmons, UL Lafayette Men’s Tennis Coach Mark Jeffrey, River Ranch pro Shelby Dufrene, Brian Burns, Tara Vasovic, former No. 1 player for the Dominican Republic Daysi Salazar, City Club head tennis pro Chad Hebert and attorney Curtis Hollinger. Thanks to generous local sponsorship and team effort, the Cajun Tennis Classic returned to Lafayette this year.

Racquets of Hope benefits Autism Society

Rain, rain, go away — and that’s just what it did for the fifth annual Racquets for Hope Charity Tennis Tournament to benefit the Autism Society of Acadiana. Generously supplied by Café Bella and mega sponsors Malcolm Stubbs and Jimmy Mallia, all proceeds go to different outreach programs and stipends for families affected by autism. “We’re just so pleased at the turnout,” said President and Autism Board member Robin Blackwell, “and so thankful the rain went away.” Enjoying some pre-match mixing were tournament director Chad Hebert, event Chairwoman Susie Hargroder, fellow board member Vickie Brignac, very active volunteer Karen Juneau, tennis pro Daysi Salazar, Beau Minvielle, Cheri Coussan, and sisters Susan Domingue and Rhonda Allen.

Oh, what a night

If you’re not downtown on the second Saturday of every month, you should be. A shot of cool fall air not only brought out the VIPs but the first whiff of Halloween. Word Crawl, a fundraiser for Festival of Words, featured poets and writers at a dozen venues for as many hours. Chainsaw artist Kelly Guidry held court at Gallery 549, and the Acadiana Center for the Arts hosted a teaser of The Tea Sippers’ Theatre Company’s soon-to-come “Rocky Horror Show.” Out for an art fix were renowned contemporary Louisiana photographers Debbie Fleming Caffery and Philip Gould, artist Dawn Dedeaux, Susan Brazell, writer Sue Schleifer, Brian Crutchfield and AcA board member Sharon Moss. What we loved: Rocky Horror gender bender Seth Derouen, Austin Boudreaux and Caroline Munsell, all of whom are off-Broadway fine. Let’s do the time warp again.

AcA makes plans at meet ’n’ greet

The Acadiana Center for the Arts kicked off its planning season with a meet ’n’ greet in their atrium downtown. Gulf Brew, the AcA’s annual beerfest, is looming large, and under discussion was the VIP tent and other Parc International logistics. “I thought the first thing we should do is have a party,” said Jay Ruffin, newly-appointed hospitality head of a five-man committee. “We’re going to need a lot of help.” Mingling over the Marcello’s wine was president of the board John Chappuis, AcA Director Gerd Wuestemann, Margaret Ruffin, Sharon Moss, Matt Dugas, Mary Guidry, Connie Smith and Olivia Regard. What we loved: Jay’s chafing dish crab and bouchées. Don’t ever wonder why he’s hospitality chair.