I liked cricket. Notice the word “liked”. I used to sit up to the wee small hours of the morning to watch the Test Match in the UK. I loved to watch the skills and the sportsmanship of Ian Botham, Clive Lloyd. Vivian Richards, Graham Gooch, Dennis Lillee , Rod Marsh, Alan Border, Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, David Gower, Kapil Dev, VVS Laxman – to name a few. I loved to listen to the commentary of former – before my time – greats such as Freddy Truman. These days I very rarely watch cricket because it’s just not the same game anymore. Money, technology, and changes of rules have altered the game to the extent that I think it’s called cricket, but it’s in name only. Yet having said that, over a quarter of a million people turned up this last week to watch the Melbourne Boxing Day Test. When I liked cricket, the decision of the Umpire was final – if he said OUT you were OUT or NOT OUT, as the case may be. Not any more – technology and the spy camera can have the decision of the umpire overturned, after all there’s money involved here. The Big Bash League, T20 have contributed to the death of cricket as we have known it. There is a lot of money being thrown
around and why should a person bother playing this Test Cricket stuff when he can make a lot of money playing in the T 20 – or even going over to India and playing there. Even ODI ( One Day International) games are suffering. T 20 is irreversible, it brings in punters and revenue, it brings in the players with just the ability to batter the ball to all sides of the ground with as few as strokes as possible. If people want to watch this game, fine, but – inflated egos, players who believe that they are greater than the game itself, are not for me, I leave all that to the Me/Now generation and their overwhelming desire for instant gratification – The Big Bash. These last few years – I don’t know – but it’s just not the same.
There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night —
Ten to make and the match to win —
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote —
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’
Yes. well, I always liked Sir Henry Newbolt. Not many people did – he is very Victorian and very dated. I liked his poems about Drake, Devon and Clifton. Surprisingly enough, I often think of
Newbolt, probably because on the wall in front of me is a copy of “The Fighting Temeraire” by J.M. Turner, and one of the great poems by Newbolt is The Fighting Temeraire. There was an exhibition in Adelaide called “Turner From the Tate” and people expressed disappointment that The Fighting Temeraire was not included. I don’t think they really understood the title of the Exhibition “Turner from the Tate” because the Temeraire is not in the Tate, it’s in the National Gallery. Oops…
So here we are, 31st. December and the last post for the year. It’s been an interesting year, sometimes difficult, sometimes frustrating, but always good. I, like others have had periods of ups and downs and it’s been a year when I discovered that I am no longer superman – I cannot lift and move fallen trees on my own – no longer invincible – I damaged my sciatic nerve in trying to do so, but it was all good :o) lessons generally can be. A quiet night tonight – we are far enough away from the main areas not to be bothered by clowns. Tomorrow, the boys, Trish and the girls will be here for lunch and then we are back to “normal” – Old Clothes and Porridge . I hope everyone has a great new year. I will watch the Edinburgh Tattoo and have a glass of something, wet, alcoholic and 22 years old.
Take care everyone – if you are driving – take special care – and I look forward to being with you again in the New Year.