It is still pretty cold in the mornings at the moment, but at least we are getting our fair share of sunshine each day. It’s not warm by any means, but sunshine always helps to lift my mood. The cricket season has started too. It must be strange for the players to be out in the centre of the stadium with no spectators or noise, though I imagine they are pleased to be ‘back at work’. There has been some play over the winter as England played India with some good and some not so good results. I know cricket it unfathomable to some people, but most team sports have slightly arcane rules and what appear to be ridiculous antics – rugby union line out jumping – hello.
I was always pretty hostile to the whole idea of cricket, the culture, the ridiculous words, silly mid-off, cow corner, and the obsession it seemed to produce. When I was at school, if there was a test match on, and they last for 5 days remember, there would be groups of men, yes mainly men, standing outside the tv rental shops in town, watching the game in the window. This was before the advent of mobile phones, wall to wall coverage or anything resembling an internet. I had a small ‘tranny’ or transistor radio, that was used to listen to the pirate radio stations or in later years Radio 1 from the BBC. The thought of using this to tune into the cricket coverage would have been laughable. Cricket was for old men. When I was 16, I moved to a sixth form college to study my A Levels, and there were boys there that were listening to the radio coverage of cricket – on a tranny. I was flabbergasted.
At the end of my first year at University in the balmy post exam days before we all disappeared for the summer, the first cricket world cup was staged in England. I am sure there were many die hard cricket fans who thought this was an abomination but it did mean that the game got one additional female fan – me. Our student life was mainly conducted in the kitchens of the student residences but for the cricket world cup, it moved to the TV rooms. Yes we had a special room where we went to watch the tv. The idea of an individual having their own set in their room was preposterous. I wandered in one day and asked what was going on. Australia were playing and they had two spectacular fast bowlers, Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson. They were amazing. I was hooked.
A couple of years’ later I was working in a cafe in Scarborough on the Yorkshire Coast. Geoff Boycott, a well known Yorkshire cricketer was playing for England against the Aussies at Headingley in Leeds and was likely to score his hundredth, hundred. A friend and I bunked off work and took the train to Leeds. Somehow, I can’t remember how (alcohol was involved) we got into the ground and witnessed this great event. Just over 30 years later, I met my husband, who had also been at the same match. We like to think we had destiny and we now live within walking distance of the cricket ground.
He is currently watching a live stream of Yorkshire v Kent from Canterbury on YouTube – who would have imagined that all those years ago?