Who better to provide an insight into the mind of a cricket tragic than those who have to live with one? After much coercion the Bride/her indoors/one of the most tolerant women I’ve ever met, agreed to pen a short piece for Donning the whites. Enjoy – and welcome to a little slice of the life of a cricketing Buddha.
I am the Bride, as I am (affectionately?) referred to in this blog. I don't pretend to be an expert on the game DH (Dear Husband) loves so much, I am useless when it comes to statistics and I can't recall the ins and outs of certain games. I. Just. Like. It. That's all.
I can’t put my finger on why I like the game - I just do. It’s certainly not because of all the gorgeous hunks and their six packs (oh whoops, that’s rugby), although I do have a bit of a thing for Jesse Ryder. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of DH – on the cuddly side and doesn’t give a s@#t what people think. It’s got to be that it’s a thinking person’s game – there is so much more to it than going out on the pitch and having a bash. Although that’s fun too.
Since having children (yes – we have two now!) I haven’t watched a great deal of cricket, and this is the reason that I refrain from stating I love the game. I do love it, but a real fan would watch it regardless of other distractions. I watch when I can, but don’t sacrifice my sleep for it. Any mothers reading this blog will understand how important sleep becomes after you have had kids. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest Big Bash season, even though I could only manage one innings a night but I checked Cricinfo every morning for the results. Yes – I have the Cricinfo app on my phone.
It's true the game did bring DH and I together, but I was into cricket before we met - I'm not one of these women that takes an interest in sport just because DH does. I can't remember exactly when I started liking it but I'm pretty sure it was about 10 years ago during India's tour of New Zealand. We won the series from what I can remember, but don't quote me on that. Stephen Fleming was the captain, Chris Cairns, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan and Daniel Vettori were all playing. That summer I was working on my house and had the TV on watching the games. I even took the wireless outside to listen to the cricket while I washed the car. Now some of this may be usual behaviour for most cricket fans, but it was unusual for me - especially as my partner at the time hated the game.
The following summer (or was it two summers later? – I told you I was useless recalling specifics) South Africa toured New Zealand; I went to a one day match at Eden Park. By myself! Honestly, what sort of self-respecting man lets his partner go to an ODI on her own? The game was scheduled for Saturday but was rained off, so it was held on Sunday instead. It had been bucketing down and I was surprised how well the Eden Park pitch held up. Thankfully a nice man sitting next to me explained all the work that had been recently done at the park with drainage etc., and that’s why they were able to play the game after such a downpour. I sat on my own all day and was enthralled by the game. I wouldn’t have a clue if we won or not, but I had a ball. I could look up who won and what the key stats of the game were, and try and impress with my knowledge of the game but I’m not like that.
Once I moved to Wellington I was able to experience games at the Cake Tin. What a fabulous place to watch cricket – well, I think so anyway. I went to a few games there, including one of the matches to raise funds for the Boxing Day Tsunami. Then when the Hamilton pitch turned to s#@t and they re-scheduled an ODI (against Australia if I’m not mistaken) to be played at The Basin I booked a day off work and went along by myself. Again! I got a great spot on the hill and sat there all day, not daring to move in case I lost my possie. I think we lost that game but it was the last ODI played at The Basin and I was there!
And then along came DH. I was keeping him informed of cricket scores as, being higher up the food chain at work, I had full internet access and he did not. And the rest is history. Cricket brought us together.
I love talking with DH about cricket and have learnt so much from him about it, most of if I can’t recall, but I know the knowledge is tucked away in my brain somewhere. When we moved back to Auckland we were able to go to several games together – including the second game of the legendary Chappell Hadlee series where NZ won 3-0. I watched all the games and remember New Zealand beating Australia by 10 wickets in the first game (thanks to Stephen Fleming and Lou Vincent), a game in which Shane Bond got a 5-fer.
I’ve still not been to a test match, despite promising to do so in my wedding vows, but I absolutely intend to at some point. And to DH’s chagrin I cannot remember the fielding positions – I try really hard and I know the simple ones – gully, the slips, wicket keeper, square leg, cow corner (mainly because that’s a great name) – but the others, forget it!
I bought DH his first piece of cricket memorabilia, a bat signed by both BC Lara (his idol) and Sir Garfield Sobers. That was back in the days when we had lots of surplus income and spending over $1000 on a cricket bat was nothing.
Which brings me to his Wisden collection. I’m afraid I don’t get the obsession, but he loves it and it’s his hobby so I am fully supportive of it. I don’t understand the desire to spend $700 on a 1941 Wisden – to me that’s half the price of the dishwasher I so desperately desire, but that’s why he gets a fortnightly allowance – to spend on what he wishes. And I would be hard pressed to deprive him of the joy he gets from finding an edition that he doesn’t have, at a price that his meagre allowance will provide for. But, and he may dispute this, I do share his love of sporting memorabilia and it is our joint dream to one day own a café/sports book shop with the walls adorned with all that we have collected. And a special glass case to hold all those precious Wisdens.
Let me know what you think – if enough of you enjoyed it I’ll invite the Bride back for an encore performance – it’s not like she’s going anywhere! Post a comment below or tweet me @aotearoaxi. Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts for future pieces from a cricketing Buddha.