Monday, September 19, 2005


When England won the rugby world cup, after the game Spanx and I went to watch Oxford play, I think, Lincoln. At half time he phoned Baz, not a rugby fan, to see how Reading were getting on. “What did you think of the rugby?” Spanx asked, “It was OK, a bit gay.” said Baz.

That’s kind of how I feel about The Ashes. Like a lot of people, I watched and listened to more cricket this summer than ever before. And it was great, like a classic novel, which ebbed and flowed, from dark to light, despair to joy.

Not that I’m a particular authority on this analogy because I really don’t read enough. I wish I did, like I wish I was a cricket fan. But it just isn’t my sport; I would be a fraud if I were to nod sagely about ‘reverse swing’ and ‘playing for the light’. I know enough to see that Shane Warne is, perhaps, the greatest cricketer that ever lived, simply because he is so much better than anyone else and that Andrew Flintoff is a charismatic swashbuckling everyman. But I couldn’t be so bold to refer to him as ‘Freddie’.

I wish I was into Cricket, during the recent tour of the Windies, Spanx and I spent an afternoon hypnotised by England’s fierce attack which culminated in Matthew Hoggard taking a hat-trick. But I walked away, now, to care about it seems inappropriate, to get excited about something I didn’t care about 2 months ago doesn’t seem right.

It’s a shame, because my sport, football, is sliding into recession. Chelsea is making the Premiership a tedious procession; the premiership is widening the divide between the rich and the poor, so the 16 teams that could conceivably go down this season are more concerned about losing than winning, the roots are being ripped from the branches making dreams about taking clubs from obscurity to silverware obsolete. It’s no longer interesting to watch the giants of Europe clash in the Champions League, simply because they do it so often. Cricket will never overtake football as the national sport, but it does make for a more interesting spectacle, I just feel like I’m gate crashing someone else’s party.


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