1984, the playing field of Matangi School, Waikato. My class was playing cricket for PE. (Ugh, I hate PE!) and I was doing that thing with throwing the ball. What’s it called? Oh yeah, bowling. And I threw the ball at my classmate who was holding the bat and somehow I did something good, a sophisticated move in the world of cricket. And then I did it again. Yet I didn’t actually know what I did that was so great. “Whoa, watch out for Robyn – she’s good,” my teacher said. So I bowled again, attempting to replicate my killer move, but just ended up hurtling the ball vaguely in the direction of the batter (which, I swear, is all I’d done the first couple of times) but this time it was a bad bowl and I was never able to replicate my supposed quite-good bowling technique.
1996, Mike’s flat, Hillcrest, Hamilton. I was hanging out with Mike and he was talking about cricket, particularly some young whippersnapper from around the way named Daniel Batory or something. I was getting bit sick of all the cricket talk so I sang my cricket song. It’s a bit like 10CC’s “Dreadlock Holiday“, and it goes like this: I don’t like cricket / Oh no. And that’s the end of the song. Many people have heard me sing this song over the years.
2009, the Basin Reserve, Wellington. So, I’m sitting up on the grass at the Basin Reserve watching New Zealand and India play a test match cricket game thing. I’m sitting with Hadyn (who writes about sport), Richard (who also writes about sport), Dan (who writes about movies, but has a season pass to the cricket) and various other people who actually know what’s going on.
Despite my general view of cricket as an annoying, confusing game, I’d decided to come along just to see if it was really as annoying and confusing as I thought.
For a start, I didn’t really know what was going on, so I asked questions such as:
They’re all wearing white – how do you tell which team is batting and which team is fielding?
You look at the scoreboard thing and it tells you. Also, the New Zealand team have wider stripes on their uniform.
Where do the non-batting players go when they’re not batting?
There’s a lean-to tiki shack thing next to the main grandstand. They go and hang out there and make toasted sandwiches.
What’s an over?
A unit of something cricket related? Um, I can’t actually remember, but Dan did explain it quite well at the time.
So, um, when does it end today? Because I know the game thing goes over multiple days, and it’s all a bit complicated with the runs and overs and shit, but I was just wondering when there was an approximate time for it to end because, well, it’s getting a bit cold and windy up here.
Soon, little Smurf. Soon.
I slowly began to piece together the basics of the game, and learned about the strategic move where India could have made New Zealand bat again. (Or was it field again?)
At one stage Chris Martin was batting. This is not the same Chris Martin from Coldplay who is married to Gwyneth Paltrow (lolz!!!). Not that I could tell, given that he was a distant white-clad figure. Apparently Mr Martin is not typically an awesome batter, but he managed to hit a four (what?) which is quite good and everyone yelled and cheered.
After a while I realised that going to a cricket game isn’t necessarily about the sport. It’s more like going on a picnic with your mates, but with the option of being entertained by some fellows in white woollen vests running around in the distance.
And that is something I don’t mind at all.