Sunday, May 09, 2004

I don’t like cricket 

I spent most of my sporting life (such as it was) playing rugby at various levels. This means that I am more than capable of holding my own around the braai, since the average South African sofa based expert is no more familiar with the intricacies of his game than his equivalents in other sports and countries around the globe. This, despite the national obsession (among the white population at least) with rugby union and its psychological role as proof of the South African’s physical superiority.

The only problem with rugby as a sport is that it doesn’t have anything like the same richness of anecdotes as, say, golf or cricket. We’re only counting on the field exploits here, by the way. I played cricket from the age of 8 to about 10, and play golf about 5 times a year. My golf tends to the embarrassing, and I don’t remember my cricket being much good either. Despite the vast disparity in actual playing experience, the relatively few games of golf and cricket have produced far more incidents worthy of being recounted over a drink than the rugby has. Maybe it is a competence-based thing, if that doesn’t sound too much like my day job. Maybe if you’re reasonably good at something you don’t get yourself into the sort of situations that make for a good story.

Having said that, my proudest cricketing moment was at least based on a suggestion of competence, or perhaps just brute force and luck. There we were, several wickets down for not very many in a crucial house match at school. At the fall of the latest wicket, yours truly strides forth. I like to think I was swinging my bat around and grinning confidently like Botham, but I was probably just trying not to trip over my pads. Three balls later, I was trudging back again, our team’s hopes sliding away. Out third ball. For twelve. What a strike rate: two nose-height full tosses that we used to call donkey drops, both hooked for six. On the third I did the same thing, and was caught on the boundary. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Listening to: the radio on my wife’s car, since my car is still at the mechanic, and all my tapes are in the boot. (CD player at home? Forget it – either the telly is on, sprog or sprogs are asleep, or it’s just too damn loud!)

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