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 xix

Game of Truth or Dare!

Which is the most frightening?

Dare to be honest

~

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

On Playing x

Can you still call up that glee

in the pit of your guts

when wind picked up leaves and dust

devils spun the whole playground

into a delirious flock of crows

performing flips and twists

free-falling then swooping

up to hang on the vacuum formed

in the lee of a Scots Pine clump?

.

Arms out, fingers splayed like primaries

we whirled across the tarmac playing

kiss chase, ran ragged from wall to wall

making clattered flat-footed stops

and rushed to touch HOME! bricks

lungs aching from screams and squeals

of delight at being chased and disgust

at being caught and held and bumped

heads as a dry peck on chin, cheeks

or an eyelid or brow (only accidently lips)

except that wild day you let me

and it was so revolting and I ran away

and all the girls and boys joined in

the chase and held me while you kissed me

back and shouted out

with all your gut of glee

to the wind-whipped cheers of all

including the dinner ladies too

I HATE YOU, CHRISTOPHER PERRY!

~

n.b. Picture above shows that hateful Perry boy, now embodied in a larger frame, but with same lockdown (3) hair.

CLP 23/01/2021

On Playing vii

Look for quick singles

Yes! No! Sorry. My mistake.

Takes two to Tango

~

n.b. Continuing with the cricketing theme, communication between batters is either a strength or a weakness. It is about being in tune with your partner. As in cricket, as in life.

Here is a clip of a classic cricketing communication breakdown for your edification. Stick with it to the end to see the culprit’s body language. Oops!

~

CLP 19/01/2021

On Playing vi

Fast delivery

dug in short and cutting back

kisses collar bone

~

n.b. All due respect to the Indian men’s cricket team in getting the runs required to beat Australia on the last day of the last test match of the series. What a feat of resilience, skill, bravery and team work!

The Australian radio commentators were generous with their praise for the tourists’ victory in Brisbane. It made exciting radio listening. How wonderful for the 5,000 or so spectators watching the remarkable performance!

My senyrū refers to my own own experience of cricket and the excitement of playing against a good fast bowler. If that ball hits you…ouch!

Cricket is indisputably the best team game ever invented. I particularly enjoy how the different cricket playing nations have developed their own culture around the game.

If you would like to find out a bit more about one of the greatest cricket teams of all time I can recommend a film about the West Indian cricket team, Fire in Babylon. The link takes you to a trailer for the movie.

AND India has announced it is sending supplies of coronavirus vaccines to a number of neighbouring countries. The first shipment is already heading to Bhutan. Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Seychelles are also going to be receiving vaccines from India soon. That’s the kind of news I like.

~

CLP 19/01/2021