On Playing xxi

Is that how it was?

Truly unbelievable.

Oh! How we laughed

~

n.b. Sometimes you just cannot make it up. The happiest coincidences, the spontaneous choices, the good fortune, the generosity of the people you bump into on the way, the adventures. Some call it fate, but that’s life!

CLP 30/01/2021

On Playing xviii

If I put it all

on the hope of winning you

when would the wheel stop?

~

n.b. There is much sensible advice to hand for gamblers. For example: when the fun stops, stop; only bet what you can afford to lose.

What if you never take a chance? What do you win then? Do you stick, play safe, stay home and make the best of what you have got?

Life is a journey where “the highway is for gamblers.” *

There is neither wrong nor right in this. It’s your choice how to play.

*from Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now,Baby Blue’

~

CLP 29/01/2021

On Playing (12)

Being substitute

is not a problem when you

have the chance to shine

~

n.b. As a boy being picked for the school team, even as a substitute, was to be part of something exciting. All I have ever wanted was to have an opportunity to have a go.

That is what we all want in life…to take part.

n.n.b. Quick explanation: 12 was the number of the player who could be used to replace an injured team-mate, or might be used to replace another player to change the flow of a match. This was in the days when football teams were numbered 1 to 11 for those players who started a game. There was none of this squad number / choose your favourite number business when I was a lad.

n.n.n.b. The Number 12 is now often allocated to a football club’s supporters, implying that after the eleven players on the pitch, the supporters are the most important people in the game. I will spare you the philosophical discussions that could be had around that, but when you hear a crowd gee a team up to perform better, or get on their backs and hinder their progress, you will appreciate that the supporters have an influence.

A report yesterday from Austria suggests that players without a paying, baying crowd present are much calmer and less confrontational with opponents and the referee.

From time to time Portsmouth have had players who did not need a crowd to gee them up. As the saying goes, they could start a fight in a phone box – with themselves. No names…but Pompey fans could tell you who I have in mind.

n.n.n.n.b. The picture is of St Andrew’s. The home of Birmingham City, who rent there ground to Coventry City, who were hosting a visit by Portsmouth that evening. Yes, we lost 1-0.

~

CLP 25/01/2021

On Playing (xi)

Why is it that teams

comprise eleven players?

Perfect for cricket.

~

n.b. I had a look on-line and the answers are pretty dumb given the fact that it was a rural game codified in 1744 and the story that Edward VIII had only eleven courtiers is a complete red herring. Cricket teams of eleven were in place long before that short-reigning monarch abdicated in 1936, never to return to live in England.

We know that football followed cricket’s lead when it came to team size, as it was promoted as the winter game for cricket players.

Famous examples of football clubs formed by cricketers include Aston Villa FC (formed in 1874) and AC Milan (1899).

The question of why eleven players were decided on for cricket remains unanswered.

~

CLP 25/01/2021