I will miss out on the entire cricket season.
Logging onto The Age today, I saw an updated cricket score. I assume they’re playing the First Test in South Africa today [I just looked that one up to be sure]. With all my recent football, basketball and soccer focus, I came to realise this morning that I will not see a single ball bowled of the cricket this summer.
Now, many of you may not think twice about this … ‘Cricket’s so boring, why would you bother??’ And no, it’s probably not there in my 5 favourite sports, but there’s something inherently Australian, summery and intoxicating about the game.
So, without further ado, let’s weigh up the checks and balances and see if missing out is something to be celebrated or lamented.
The worst things about missing an entire summer of cricket
Boxing day – There’s something compelling about the Boxing Day Test. It is the biggest day of cricket for the entire Summer. A packed MCG, thousands of people thrilled not to be amongst the hordes searching out Boxing Day ‘specials’, and a guaranteed big-game feel, regardless of the teams playing. And if Australia is competitive over in South Africa, wait for the buzz come December 26…
You also know that no matter how chaotic or frustrating your Christmas day is, there’s always going to be cricket on the next day. That is, of course, unless it rains, which can happen … Let’s move on.
Michael Clarke – Ok you haters, back off. I do not understand the vitriol directed towards our captain one bit. His numbers stack up, he’s a genuine man of character and integrity, but we bust his chops because … why? He’s Gen Y, likes his watches and fast cars, has a tat and (had) a supermodel girlfriend??! Come on! Seriously, you think you’d embrace Allan Border – ‘Captain Grumpy’ – if he came along now? Don’t kid yourself. If the behaviour that our previous generations of players got up to when on tour – completely unreported, mind you – occurred today, it would make Shane Warne look like James Hird. As in, perfect.
Clarke is comfortable in his own shoes, a model citizen and, in full flight, a joy to watch. Plus, he scored a century today, so that doesn’t hurt my opinion one bit. Give the man a go and don’t blame him because we don’t dominate the world anymore. This dropoff was always going to happen. Repeat. Always.
Lazing about the house – Summers can be long, and boring at times. There’s something comforting about knowing that often, there’ll be an international game of cricket on. You don’t have to watch it all; who does, really? The fact that it’s there is what is reassuring, like a faithful dog when you come home, or a wife … or a dog. (Editor’s note – Mrs Year Without Sport tried to edit out that last bit. Unsuccessful. Suffice it to say I don’t like it.)
South Africa – Often we have to talk ourselves into the competitiveness of the upcoming series. Two things have taken care of that: 1) We no longer wipe the floor with teams within 4 days, and 2) South Africa is here! I won’t go into great depth about their lineup, but I will tell you this – you make runs against Dale Steyn, and you have earned them. Our best series outside of Ashes matches and possibly over in India…
The recliner – To be self-indulgent here for a moment – Summer holidays + my recliner + a cricket game can = sleep within 5 minutes. This is not great for the marriage, as my wife enters the twilight zone where she’s married her father, but that’s her problem. Feet up, I say!
BBQs at mates’ – Again, there’s something inherently Aussie about a bbq, a drink, mates, and a game of cricket. Hopefully I can conjure up some backyard games instead of being ‘stuck’ in front of a big screen.
20/20! – This grew on me like ugly mo’s each November … quickly and jarringly. I never thought I would embrace this form of the game, but I have, as has the majority, leaving the 50 over version in dire need of a quick and peaceful end.
Ricky Ponting – I saw headlines calling for his head, this week. I love this challenge that awaits him. Make runs, or your career is over. One of our most talented, divisive and driven captains in history, plus an eternal place in Bollywood folklore as the topic of the ultimate question in Slum Dog Millionaire. What more could a man ask for!?
The best things about missing an entire summer of cricket
The tedium – Seriously, bowl the ball already … another field change?! Oh come on!
The slow pace of the test game + the 15-to-40 over mark of the 50 over form can bring an old man to his knees. I turned 35 this year; I might fit that category.
Time wasting – The amount of hours I have spent watching a game of cricket that I will never, eeeeever (Chris Jericho) remember is mind-boggling. My great test beckons this Summer without having cricket as a fallback on the holidays. Doing something constructive with my time is a positive challenge that is consistent with why I started this journey in the first place.
Australian crowds – A couple of years ago I won free tickets to a 50 over game and sat with a mate on the second tier of the great Great Southern Stand, looking over the old Bay 13. Believe us, it was Australians at their worst. The non-stop drinking and associated boorish behaviour within a young and often old-enough-to-know-better ‘sub-culture’ was appalling. Their treatment of women, alcohol and authority was shocking, and I live in Croydon!
So there it is – on a 8 to 3 count, I look set to miss out big time this Summer! I need to find a calendar – when’s the next Ashes series??!