The days grow shorter, the skies close in, the sun feels like its own gormless relative – really rather dim and with not much to offer. Yep, winter is a-coming folks, the time when the world may as well just stop, because cricket <sob> has.
Is that the vibe around your nearest and weirdest at this time of year? Are you struggling to cope with the pathos? Sure, they may be in mourning for the sights of balls hit straight to the boundary, balls sailing over the boundary, what everyone is wearing to the Allan Border Medal … for the dry-mouth nervousness of awaiting third umpire decisions, follow-on announcements, watching to see if that lady in the crowd will drop her ice cream … no doubt the time is coming where the incessant, excited mumbling as games and series are played over days and weeks could end, because for now this game wholly intrudes on every thought and action … but –
SURELY there are other things to get out of bed for! You know they CAN survive through to summer again. (It will return, you’ve said soothingly.) THEY CAN LIVE WITHOUT CRICKET (for a short period), you promise.
Hmm. If you have a keen cricket fan in your life, and you’re having niggling doubts as to whether they CAN make it through, here be a few suggestions of wintertime distractions you might consider on their behalf…
1. They can follow their favourite player’s English county career. Many of the top players are whooshed over to that far-off fairytale land, and what with the marvels of modern-ness, you can keep abreast! (It doesn’t always have to be in our backyard.)
2. Signing up for indoor cricket? Maybe? Sure – there are no seagulls (usually) but they do get to don the vest, pad up and hear the thwack of leather smacking willow… sigh…
3. Buy a cricket book! There’s no shortage! Some player or other has knocked one off every week or so! And they cross genres! There are cook books and kids books, novels, biographies and memoirs, and really, where would the humour genre be without cricket? There are books about Shane Warne and books by Shane Warne. Get ‘em a stack and suggest they curl up by the fire and warm their un-sunned soul.
4. Join The Barmy Army! Um, ever had cause to mutter “die-hard”, “rabid” “obsessed” or perhaps even “deranged” about this special someone in your life? This English institution might be just the outlet they need. Sure, it may mean a few months’ absence from home, but maybe, if that’s what it takes…
5. If this hasn’t occurred to you already – it may be time to square your shoulders and steer them to footy. It’s known to be hugely beneficial for players of one sport to play something else in the off-season – it will work different muscles – so maybe it will be of benefit to your dear one’s fondness for cricket to find another companion… temporarily. No! It’s not cheating! It may in fact benefit the relationship in the long term. (Ahem: yours AND theirs.)
So there it is: a survival guide for cricket crazies devotees. Demonstration that there ARE other things out there – things that will sustain those you fear might otherwise crumble. For the long, dark period ahead. Until the fierce sun beats down on Aussie ovals once more.