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Tony Grist

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The First Test [May. 27th, 2005|02:35 pm]
Tony Grist
As a kid I hated sport - Football most of all but cricket not far behind. What gave cricket its slight edge was that it's a summer game and you got to spend a lot of time lying in the sun, chewing bits of grass.

I still hate football, but I got turned onto cricket (as a spectator sport) in the early 80s. Spectator sport? Listener sport, more like. I used to carry around a transistor radio, tuned to BBC 3's ball by ball Test commentary.

I'm not sure I can explain it. Yes, cricket's dull, cricket's slow, but these are things I like about it. I'm not interested in the faster one day game. I love the tension and suspense of the five day Test Match. I guess it appeals to the same thing in me that loves Tarkovsky.

I've followed England through thick and thin. There's been a lot of thin over the past 20 years. But right now we have a winning team. Later this summer we play the Aussies, and for the first time in ages we're in with a chance.

The first Test of the season is against Bangladesh. It's going on now. Every so often I'll stop whatever I'm doing and go sit in front of the TV. It's not a great match- Bangladesh have only been playing at this level for 5 years and they're hopelessly outclassed- but, even so, once I'm settled in front of the screen I find it hard to tear myself away.

One more ball. I'll turn the thing off off after one more ball. O lovely- what a beautiful stroke! That was worth waiting for. Wouldn't it be good if he did it again? Maybe I'll hang around for a couple more deliveries just in case he does.....
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dakegra
2005-05-27 07:27 am (UTC)
cricket is rather wonderful in that respect. I went to a friend's stag party, which involved a day at Edgbaston watching England play, erm, someone else. It was enormous fun. Beer was had, and it was actually sunny. Up until the point at which it rained, when we got out our brollies and flasks, and continued as if nothing had changed. Tea and cricket. Marvellous.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 09:54 am (UTC)
I've never actually been to a match. I get my cricket via TV and radio. I used to love the old radio commentators- "Johnners" et al.- who used to witter on about chocolate cake between overs.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 01:34 pm (UTC)
Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2005-05-27 01:09 pm (UTC)

Johnners et al

Yes, my favourite was Blowers and the pigeons and the Big Red Buses. I don't tend to listen to the radio commentary any more (there's this little thing called work that gets in the way).

I went to Headingley a couple of times with my father in the 80s - I remember seeng Botham vs the Aussies in 1985, which was genuinely exciting (Headingley 1981 being a distant memory).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 01:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Johnners et al

I was watching Headingley '81 on TV. I had work to do. I thought, "this match isn't going anywhere" and I walked off just in time to miss Botham's legendary innings.

It's one of the biggest regrets of my life.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 09:56 am (UTC)
There's a splendid Monty Python sketch in which a cricket match is filmed in the style of Pier Paolo Pasolini......
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-05-27 09:49 am (UTC)
i can't say i understand cricket terribly well, but i do understand following a team through many thin years! i'm glad things are looking up for your team :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 09:58 am (UTC)
Thanks.

Australia are the top team in the world. England are number two. If we win this summer's "Ashes" series (a tall order) those positions will be reversed.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2005-05-27 11:39 am (UTC)
An Englishman who hates football is like an American who hates baseball.

But then, I hate baseball.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-27 01:40 pm (UTC)
I hate the way one is pressurized into following the "national sport". If football were a minority interest I might feel differently about it.
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