To think that it took a humble game like cricket to get me back to blogging – but hey! If you told me ten years ago that every air wave and column inch in Ireland would be filled for 24 hours with the topic of cricket, I would have said – NEVER! But as one lucky punter soon discovered with a €10 bet at odds of 399:1 that Ireland would beat England – Never say never.
Unlike most of my colleagues at the Brandon House Hotel and various associates in the hotel industry in Wexford, it was not the fact that they beat England per say, but that they were so very world-class in the win – and that I sincerely hope my adoptive country will not prove to just be a one wicket wonder, but that it will be the beginning of great things.
That said, the irony is not lost that although all very patriotic right now, most skirt away from any intense technical or knowledgable discussion on the actual match, and have armed themselves with just enough cricket jargon to not sound like eejits! The moment you throw them a full toss by discussing the placing of the first slip, the extra cover or my personal favourite – the silly mid on, then you see them scurrying to the safe territory of the next 6 Nations match or very defensively saying that it’s nothing like the greatest game on earth – hurling.
And in that latter statement lies the complete answer – there is no game on earth to compare with cricket. With all it’s absurdities and rules of long five-day test matches that can end in NO score and those most civilised of tea breaks and lunch breaks, it still manages in my mind to conjure up memories of wonderful summer days spent lounging at St Georges Park (Port Elizabeth South Africa) for five days, sipping beer and having mighty craic with new-found friends, my father, comrades and the odd Barmy Army.
I remember very distinctly 10 years ago when I landed in Cork for the first time and walked alone through the streets naively popping my head into almost every pub to see if there was a cricket match on. Eventually when I found none, I built up all the courage I could muster and asked a barman if he would mind switching to the cricket. The patrons dotted within earshot spat out their beer with loud incredulous laughter and then stared at me with an intense disdain for this most absurd of request.
I could never in my wildest naive dreams have imagined such a reaction. It was so incredibly humiliating, embarrassing and soul-destroying that I to this day believe it set me back by at least three years to find my feet and integrate properly with Irish society!
Now the table has turned, or the crease is perfect – which ever you prefer! I am now a font of trivial knowledge that is in some demand, and I feel equal amongst men and women that have always patronisingly explained (or tried to explain) the rules of Hurling, Gaelic football or God forbid – the off side rule! How cool to stump them with the LBW!
In a nutshell – I am blogging again because I am high on this magnificent result that has uplifted a nation and has banished all the doom and gloom of the past couple of years to the inside pages for just a while, and reminded us that with a bit of fun and a lot of belief we truly can achieve anything we set our minds to, and the Irish spirit is alive and batting on Indian Soil.
I would also be brave enough to remind all the Kilkenny Cats that I am sure it was because of the now gone 50 cricket clubs in the county alone that is responsible for their good hurling fortunes in the past decade! “Wink Wink”
I quote from another – Cricket rules made easy:
There are two sides, one out in the field the other one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the
next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.