That winning feeling – and inspiration

Intoxicated.

It’s the only way I can describe the way I feel since I became a die-hard cricket fan.

There are moments where I grin broadly for no reason that would be apparent to anyone around me – I’m sure many have thought I must be a crayon short of a box at times.

There has also been many a sleepless night, plenty of distraction from what I should have been doing at work, inexplicable energy for all things cricket at moments when I would normally be feeling destroyed, and I’ve driven everyone I know mad by talking about cricket incessantly.

I guess it’s a lot like being in love…

It’s not even all about the winning – I’ve been feeling odd in this way on and off since Ashton Agar’s record-making Ashes debut innings in July, all through that challenging Ashes series in England and it hit full swing by the Gabba Test in November. I’ll admit it’s intensified since then with the extraordinary success of our boys.

Taking a break from the heat day 3 to check out the view from the MCG rafters - watching Milo Kids girls doing their thing.

Taking a break from the heat day 3 to check out the view from the MCG rafters – watching Milo Kids girls doing their thing.

Only now, at the ripe age of 40 do I finally understand the joy of being a sports spectator, of  getting caught up in the fortunes of a favourite team and captivated by the complexities of the game.

If I’m honest, I’ll recognise it as another form of my favourite pastime, which til now had mostly presented in the form of obsessively watching and re-watching favourite period dramas, or devouring historical documentaries.

I speak of course of escapism.

Mitch Johnson takes time between balls to sign countless signatures for fans young and old.

Mitch Johnson takes time between balls to sign countless signatures for fans – what a come back he’s made! Super inspiring.

Going crazy in the MCG crowd on Sunday when Chris Rogers achieved his maiden test century on Australian soil – and at his adopted home ground no less – will be a moment of joy frozen in time that remains with me for many years to come, a moment when I thought of nothing else.

It will probably inspire countless crazy-woman random grins as I recall that excitement, the charge in the air and my completely unguarded happiness at witnessing first hand this achievement by one of my favourite players – and ideally this life-affirming recollection will return to me again and again at times when I most need it. That achievement of a hard fought goal by a grafting, modest and down to earth person is particularly special to me.

Similarly I imagine I’ll also recall the memory of those English wickets falling steadily to Lyon to give him his first 5fer on Aussie soil Day 3 – amidst the madness of rubbish flying around the great cauldron after the abrupt cold change swept through, whipping up the on-field tempers in the process; and that final boundary shot by Watson to seal the eagerly anticipated win at the end of Day 4. I even found the spectacular fall of Aussie wickets on Day 2 strangely enthralling: the way a long form game can shift so suddenly is a great revelation to me.

We all need something to smile about. And I seem to have found cricket, finally, and made it a key part of that armoury that provides a source of joy and escape from the everyday.

Early on in 2nd session day 4 - Rogers waits for yet another long Cookie conference between overs. But the ton still came!

Early on in 2nd session day 4 – Rogers waits patiently for yet another long Cookie conference between overs. But the ton still came!

I’d be lying if I said it was all smiles and happiness. There are moments that have made me angry or frustrated – the poor behaviour of some of the crowd; time wasting such as in the last session of this Boxing Day Test when Cookie tested everybody’s patience with his lengthy conferences between overs, which only delayed the inevitable; learning the uncomfortable truth of the brutal sledging which is apparently common on field. Frankly, I’d rather just not know! Turn off those stump mikes. Call me a girl…

Aussies in the nets before the start of day 4 - inspiring hundreds of families there as well.

Aussies in the nets before the start of day 4 – inspiring hundreds there as well.

At the end of the day though, the intoxication of being so inspired to learn, to grow and have new experiences is a state of being that I wouldn’t give away for anything.

Who knows, it may even inspire me to start playing sport. Now that would be even more life changing.

Keep em guessing Bucky!

He looks pretty mild mannered and unassuming. A reliable, dependable, you-know-just-what-you’re-gonna-get kind of guy.

Mr Casual

But Bucky Rogers sure does know how to mix it up when it comes to ball polishing!

I had a good giggle this afternoon watching him assume the prime ball polishing role (in many different poses!) for Siddle for a spell there …

Though to be honest I always have found the ball polishing bit pretty entertaining. It’s nearly as good as a row of slips fielders, waiting for a delivery, viewed from behind.

Very childish of me I’m sure! But oh well, nothing wrong with being easily pleased and finding small things to giggle about and enjoy, especially on a day like today when you know the result well before play ends. You just have to enjoy the ride.

I can just imagine what he’s saying to his team mate here … “Hey did you see me mix that up back there? Dare you or anyone else to beat it!” 😉

Did you see

PS. enjoying my new camera too!

The frustration of rain…

I’d been so looking forward to heading down to Melbourne again today to catch some Sheffield Shield action (VICvsNSW) but the weather forecast was so dire – 95% chance of 5-10mm rain – that I managed to talk myself out of it, thinking there wouldn’t be much play.

Bugger, bugger, bugger!

One full session played already without interruption – and a great one at that with Rogers and Quiney both on fire – and here I am sitting at home (where it is raining, adding to my misery :() regretting not giving it a chance. Already it would have been worth the two hours travel each way …

To add insult to injury – I can’t even console myself today with watching England vs Australia A on the telly because – you guessed it – rain in Hobart too!!

Edgbaston 2007 tmlvngs flickrI am starting to appreciate the world I’ve got myself into – one where the rain is the greatest enemy, and trying to predict it and make plans accordingly can have great consequences for the cricket tragic.

It’s a delicate balancing act of considering the options – particularly if you live in a regional area as I do and the action you’re looking to catch is in a main city some distance away.

Do I go on the off-chance that my virtue and patience in being prepared to sit watching an empty ground get wet could be rewarded with some fantastic play if the rain doesn’t arrive as forecast? Is it better to give it a try and be content with reading a good book while there’s no play, than to regret not being there when something great happens?

Speaking of which – just checked in, they’re back in action after lunch and Rogers has just hit a six. Bugger!

photo credit: tmlvngs via photopin cc