Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Off-Season? (2011)

Tis mid-November, summer is just days away, the thoughts of Rugby League start to siphon from my veins, being replaced by the cricket season.

It is some ungodly hour of the morn, my eyelids which must way all of a few grams each, feel like bricks, as I try to stay awake and watch Australia playing South Africa in the first test. It’s a game full of roller coaster moments for both sides.

But I fall into a deep slumber; I cannot resist the seductive lure of sleep.

My subconscious takes over. My brain longs for Rugby League but is also in some sort of equinoxical* battle with the normality of the beginning of the cricket season. I should have made the transition from League to cricket by now; instead my mind is in a limbo-like middle part.

I start dreaming up some weird fanciful things which certainly don’t help.

I open my eyes again and catch a glimpse of the cricket.

I see Ryan Harris running in to bowl. Just as he is about to start his delivery, striding forward with his front foot, getting side-on to generate as much as pace as he can, I close my eyes and picture Jacques Kallis, the batsmen at the non-strikers end, drop his bat, bends slightly and drives his shoulder into Harris’ exposed hip, pushing with his legs and crunching Harris into the turf, in a tackle that Nigel Plum would be proud to call ‘standard’.

I open my eyes to see Harris complete his delivery, unimpeded by Kallis’ shoulder. The ball is pitched in line with Graeme Smith’s pads. Smith flicks the ball down to fine leg. As Mitchell Johnson runs around to cut the ball off from reaching the boundary, I close my eyes again and see Johnson, scoop up a football one handed, a la Billy Slater, and make a dashing run through the players scattered all around the field, before running off to score a…..

I open my eyes again to see Johnson pick the ball up and casually lob it in to the keeper. I convince myself I should be fully embracing the cricket now. I try for another over to be truly analytical and concentrate hard on the game.

This just tires me faster. As Harris begins his next over, he pitches a ball up, and just as Kallis pushes forward to hit the ball through mid-off, I again close my eyes in yet another long ‘blink’. This time I envisage Kallis putting in a grubber kick behind the defensive line, he runs hard straight through the opponents and picks up the ball which has held a true line but is bouncing along erratically, he collects it and throws a Benji Marshall type no-look flick pass behind his back to Smith who runs away to score …… 4 runs, nice shot there by Kallis, nice straight drive down the ground.

This is doing my head in, I can’t do this! I surrender; I need to watch Rugby League. I lift my tired body out of the loving embrace of the lounge and dawdle to the DVD Cabinet and shuffle through the titles, looking for an all-too familiar DVD.

A-ha! Found it! The State of Origin 2009 series. I didn’t pick it for any reason other than it was Rugby League. This should satiate my appetite for Rugby League that my subconscious has seemingly been screaming out for.

I put the DVD on, take my place with the beloved lounge, and get the game started. I feel wide awake again, watching with enthusiasm as players smash into one another.

Soon however, the tiredness comes back. I begin to close my eyes just as Darren Lockyer is about to put up a bomb. As the ball is in the air it surprisingly morphs into a cricket ball and as it falls down, Ricky Ponting takes a catch at gully.

What the hell?!

I awake to see Kurt Gidley catching a ball after a QLD kick-off. He passes to Paul Gallen who catches the short gentle pass and starts to run at full pace towards the Maroons defence. My eyes close once again and Gallen turns into Ryan Harris, charging in to bowl once more.

I give up!

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