No cricket for any of us this weekend and I'm guessing this may have something to do with this ridiculous notion that as a nation we're good at football and there's some chance that we might win the world cup. They say your most important and formative stage in your life is around seven years old, what happens then kind of lays down a template that under-pins who you are and what you believe in. Well in 1966 when we did win the world cup for the one and only time I was just short of being 7. I think as a consequence I then went through life thinking that we're a great footballing nation, helped by being one of the 32 million people that watched the Chelsea v Leeds FA cup in 1970 and being utterly mesmerised. Since then football has come a long way, it's no longer played by blokes that were wannabe pub landlords when they retired, instead we have to watch the wannabe films stars and models - Nancy boys "Guys" that roll around on the ground writhing in pain having been tripped over by another big girls blouse. Or as the Aussies call us Whinging Poms and I can see why when they see and read about Wayne Roonie bleating on about the fact that he's knackered after playing football all season! Jesus - do we hear about real blokes who play proper endurance sports and have real injuries moaning about their vocation. All those faggot footballers who earn 100,000 quid plus want to turn on the tele and watch something other than East Enders, X-Factor and all that crap that I imagine they probably watch in between hanging out with page 3 girls and other "Guys" at exclusive night clubs. Try following the Tour De France and see what real physical and mental endurance is, watch those blokes come off their bikes in a tangle of carbon fibre and alloys at 50mph onto ashphalt, or going over the edge of a mountain in the same manner and then not say anything, but get back on that bike and finish the 28 day long race. Do we ever see their ugly, but exquistely groomed faces on the tele moaning about it? What about the 2 blokes that just played tennis virtually non-stop for 11 hours over three days in the baking hot sun? Can they stop and have the ocassional break while the ball goes up the other end, was their concentration and focus shouldered by 10 other blokes - no, they played full-on for 11 hours, non stop, full commitment and they do this all year for a fraction of what footballers earn.
Then we have cricket, I'd have said that cricket wasn't that demanding on the body and wasn't that demanding physically before I started to play it, but I've never been involved in a sport where I've seen and suffered so many physical injuries. People die playing cricket, I've never heard anyone dying playing football, a soft leather ball full of air hitting you at 60mph isn't quite the same as a small rock hard ball hitting you square in the head or chest at 100mph + is it. I've watched some of the world cup this time round and noted that John Terry was held up a being almost super-human worthy of a George Cross for diving in front of the ball (attempting mind you-not succeeding) using his head/body to stop England from conceding a goal. In cricket this is a basic fielding technique, you dive in front of or onto the ball stopping it with anything - your face, chest, bollocks, legs, ribs or preferably your hands. Think too of the great innings - the blokes that have stood in the blazing heat and faced hundreds and hundreds of deliveries where the oppositions bowlers have had on their agenda to get rid of you by removing your head or testicles as well as your bails and gone on to score in excess of 300 runs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Test_cricket_triple_centuries this takes total focus and absolute concentration - sweat pours from their helmets as they play for hour upon hour under a barrage of balls being thrown at them at 80mph + and do they moan, do they whinge, they get broken ribs, toes and fingers, but they don't go down writhing in pain, they stick it out 'Don't show em it hurts boys' is the cricket mantra delivered to small boys of 6 and 7 years old. Only today playing cricket with my 8 year old son, he was the wicket keeper and a ball went leg-side I played a hook shot and he was there and copped the bat in the arm and he went down "Joe - get up, this isn't football, you're a cricket player" was my response and he got up and played on. In the same way if this stuff happens, no-one starts offering each other out like a bunch of tarts at a boxing day sale. If you don't like it and you can't play a proper blokes game, take up something that's easy that's played by "Guys" that have male grooming products and care about their hairs condition. Yeah try that game that as a nation we're dog-shit at - try football, you only have to play it for 90 minutes and the responsibility and pressure is shared bewteen 12 of you. Also fall into that trap where you believe that your son or even you yourself might one day be earning stupid amounts of cash for playing it, yeah - you and several million other deluded fools.
10 world cups later and I've had enough, it's taken a long time to realise it, but propaganda and brain-washing is effective, but at the ripe old age of 50 I can now see that we are shit at football, but we're good at other things and one of them is cricket.
Yeah and I'm pissed that my game this Sunday was cancelled because of the England Germany match!
So - rant over, no cricket this weekend so we had a couple of hours in the paddock ..........