Would you believe, with a title like that, that the inspiration is cricket, not politics? Oh, and a bit of LGBT issue too.
Of my 3 main incidents of transphobic personal issues, 2 are related to people of West Indian origin. Thats not to say that all West Indians are transphobic, or that the issue purely relates to them, because neither would be true. Because equally, my biggest wolf whistle also came from someone of the same origin, not that I was ever sure if looked above my boobs, but anyway… Oh, and I know numerous others who have been nice to me too.
Oh right, back to cricket. One of my main issues with cricket over the years, has related to the so called ‘sledging’ that goes on, to the opposition. Personally I dont think its needed, though I remember one hilarious moment on Sky Cricket, where Niall O’Brien was sledging his brother, Kevin, in one of those televised 20 over games.
Anyway, supposedly, yesterday, one of the West Indian bowlers is said to have made a homophobic comment to the England captain, Joe Root. I dont know the actual words used (they werent picked up), but Root’s reply was,
“Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
And Root is right, there isnt. Seemingly the bowler concerned said something apologetic in reply, but it wasnt apologetic to LGBT people, just to Root, judging by later reports. Its all gone over the top, in 2 directions on Twitter, anyway.
Firstly, there are those declaring Root worthy of sainthood for what he did, but in truth, all he did was what you would expect from any decent person. Great for him saying it, but hero worship is taking it a little too far.
The opposite is the homophobics on Twitter, saying that because we dont have the actual words said to Root, it isnt true. But hey, why would Root say what he did, and seemingly the umpires report after play to the match referees, if it wasnt true?
Anyway, regardless, I want to say thank you to a fellow Yorkshire man for standing up for LGBT folk. At the same time, I’m not going to declare endearing love, and hero worship for it, as some have done, seemingly.
But yes, things need (in an ideal world) to change, both in a sledging, and homophobic way. Sadly, I dont expect perfection in my lifetime, but who knows?
OK, video, some very early, very raw punk stuff from the Stranglers. 2 songs for the price of 1 video, lol
Also known as how to ensure you dont lose a cricket match.
I’m old enough to remember a time when all cricket matches were played in the daytime, though in truth, thats probably a thing many younger than me can say, though I do remember all the hype about the first game being played under floodlights.
Now even the odd test match is played under lights, and lots of limited over (especially the 20 over games) are only played under lights nowadays. Before today, my funniest memory related to this was an English game, Kent playing someone at Canterbury, and before the game even started, they knew the floodlights werent working. Now, knowing they had a couple of hours before it would get too dark to play, you’d think they’d reduce the overs, get the game in before it got dark, and get a result, right?
No, too simple for the jobsworth’s, they started a 20 over game, and about 4 overs into the second innings, it got too dark to continue, match abandoned, no result! Spectators were only ever going to get about 24 overs before dark, but if they’d had a 12 over match, they would have seen a result. Seriously?
So this morning my time (evening Australia time), one of the teams from Sydney, were playing Brisbane, in Brisbane in that 20 over league over there. Sydney batted first, made a pretty good score of 186 in their overs, and then Brisbane came out to bat. Quickly, their 2 star opening bats were out, and they were in a lot of trouble. Suddenly, as their second star bat is walking off the pitch, one of the banks of floodlights ‘fails’. ‘Remarkably’, given that it was the home team in a big hole, despite not much visible effort to sort the matter, they claimed they couldnt get the lights to work again, and the match was abandoned, how convenient? Even 10 minutes, and 2 overs later, they would have declared a result (Brisbane would have been losing heavily), so handy, wasnt it?
I know, it might have been a genuine issue, but the timing was rather immaculate if that was the case? Of course, suggesting someone conveniently switched off the lights, surely not, lol?
Fine, its a 14 game season, but if Sydney miss the playoffs by 1 point, then well, they might be a bit more than annoyed?
OK, video time. A rather cynical song for a Brisbane cricket team, given they did just the opposite. Oh, and before anyone thinks Christian Music, and an LGBT person promoting it, her Episcopalian Church is one that is very pro on LGBT issues! So thanks, Debby, in more senses than one tonight
One thing I’ve always noticed in disclaimers, messages, and the like at big sporting events is the comment about ‘home team’ being fully supportive of diversity, and family issues, and the like. To be fair, in one of these cases, I’ve never heard it said in this country before a sporting event, but anyway… And to be fair to the majority of teams, these may be an exception to the rule, but I do wonder?
No names being used here, but sports fans will either know who I’m talking about, or will be able to google it with ease.
Firstly, lets cover the home issue, and one of my favorite sports, cricket. I know, US folk, you dont get, but dont worry, I’m getting to your sports shortly! One of the regular England Cricket Team players this week isnt getting ready to play for his Country this week, because he’s involved in a court case! Violence to others, homophobic behavior are the 2 main issues, probably brought out by over imbibing of alcohol, but all the same… I know, he might have needed to celebrate, and ‘chill’ after the game, but drinking can be kept to a sensible level, and at least the LGBT community wouldnt know what a homophobe he is, but anyway, all done now.
The thing is, I’ve seen numerous postings from England cricket fans saying that he’s being picked on, because he’s a celebrity, and that he’s being robbed of playing for England. No, he’s a violent homophobe, who started the events that led to the court case! Makes me glad I’m an Irish cricket follower, anyway.
So, to the US. Firstly, baseball. One player missed the first 75 games of the season, not due to injury, but because he was banned, because of some pretty serious domestic violence issues. To be fair to his previous team, they wanted rid of him, and most of the other 30 teams didnt want him, for obvious reasons. But one team, when they knew he was on offer signed him as fast as the world wide web would let them. To be fair, its seems most (if not all) of their players are as enthused about the signing as me. But clearly, despite comments prior to their games (I’m sure), this team are more interested in performance, than morals. In an ideal world, the guy involved will get a jail sentence in the near future, and I hope it costs the team money, support, and other things. However, given the state of the team that he plays for, the locals are just as likely to admire him for what he did!
Lastly, the shambles in College Football. A classic tale of events that did happen, then didnt happen, in terms not only of domestic violence, but in who reported it to who, and why nothing was done about it, and other numerous things. The coach who, within a week said he knew nothing about it, then when it was showed he did, said that he had known about it, and passed the information on, well, what would you believe, probably not much?
But again, over the last 2 days, there have been numerous protests at the school over events, and not in a positive way, re the domestic abuse! No, numerous supporters asking why the coach has been suspended for events, and demanding he’s given his job back. I suspect we will have an ‘inquiry’ which will tell us little or nothing, he will get his job back, and the university will hope the issue just goes away.
So yes, the next time you’re at a sports event, and hear the announcement about caring about diversity, family issues, and everything else, just laugh! They may do, but only until money talks louder!
Right, video time. One of those songs that many people, especially at the time, didnt realize was a cover version. As you will see shortly, it was. In truth, the cover version is far better than the original, but anyway…You choose.
Firstly, the cover
Secondly, the original version.
Well, when I first saw an Ireland cricket team play live on TV in 2007, I still wasnt expecting this to happen 11 years down the line. Thats not to say that it was the first time I’d ever followed cricket scores for Ireland, as I’d been doing that for a few decades, generally fairly meaningless matches, other than perhaps the rivalry games with Scotland, and the odd knock out game against an English county, but otherwise its fair to say some of the teams they played were of the less than quality standard. Then, in March 2007, having qualified for the World Cup in the West Indies, they conjured up a tie against Zimbabwe, but its fair to say thats not the match anyone really remembers. No, thats the next one, when against all the odds, they beat Pakistan, and history was made. Another win in the second stage (Bangladesh), and the Irish legend was born. Fine, a few of those players werent actually born in Ireland, but if you’d ever accused any of them of not being Irish, well, it wouldnt have been a wise move!
In recent years, its been fair to say that 2 non test playing nations stood above the rest, Ireland, and Afghanistan. Its also equally fair to say thats no longer the case, because they are now test playing nations! Yes, last year, in their ‘wisdom’ the ICC promoted those 2 nations to test playing status. And for Ireland, tomorrow marks the start of that first test, at Malahide, against, yes, you’ve guessed it, Pakistan!
No, sadly, I wont be there. Given I’d already booked to leave for Seattle a week on Saturday, before the date was known, I probably wouldnt have been able to go anyway. Now, with a damaged back, and only able to work a 4 day week, I have no chance of going, regardless. And of course, the first 2 days of the game, I’ll be working. Indeed, Day 4, same thing. I’m pretty certain that unless there are weather issues, it probably wont reach Day 5, but we will see. But hopefully, Sunday, on Day 3, I get to see some on TV.
Next year, I hope to be able to see the team play a test match (holiday plans are currently congested this year), though who against, no idea? Sadly a few of the ‘golden era’ players will be gone by then, some of whom were young players on that memorable day in 2007. Ironically, Ed Joyce was at that tournament, for England!
But yes, tomorrow will be a special day, and even if my first focus tomorrow needs to be on my job, I’ll be wondering how they’re getting on, in my breaks. Not that I’ll be able to look, being a member of the 1% club who dont own, or want to own a smart phone, with internet connection! And yes, my heart will be in Malahide, even if my old body wont be!
Go you boys in Green, though of course they will be in white for a test match!
OK, video time. Most will know, but for those who dont, the Ireland Cricket team is a united team, covering both the Republic, and Northern Ireland. Thing is, that causes anthem issues lol, 2 different countries (or part of). I think this was first created for the united rugby team as an anthem, but the cricket team quickly picked up on it as well. This is the full length version, not the one sung at sporting events. So tomorrow, 11 men cricketers will answer the call for the first time in a test match! Why do I say that? Well, the women played one years ago, but so far, just the one!
Yes, the blog title is a play on a song title, but unless you’re as old as me, until you reach the video, you may well not know it.
OK, fine, non sports fans might want to walk away here. Its funny, I remember when sport had deep bred traditions, but seemingly nowadays, thats not enough. In golf, for example, in the old days (and not that long ago, in truth), with the exception of the Ryder Cup (which used to be GB v US, but changed to make it competitive), and a Matchplay Championship once a year, everything was individual play, strokeplay, mostly over 72 holes, over 4 days.
Now, we have a tournament in Australia where they play 18 hole strokeplay for 3 days, with a cut after 2, before having a wild 24 person knock out tournament, with matches over 6 holes on the last day! This week, for the second year, we have a pairs tournament going on in the US, with 2 different formulas of play over the 4 days. Next week, in the UK, we have a round robin group tournament, involving 16 pairs in matches over 6 holes, with all sorts of weird rules (time to play shot being one of them), and in a few weeks, in Belgium, we have 1 with 2 days of standard strokeplay, followed by a 64 player knock out thing on strokes, over 9 holes!
I guess this is all to try and bring in a new audience, or maybe its because I’m just old, and set in my ways, but seriously…do we need all this?
The other sport in the UK that seems to be desperately trying to ‘re-invent the wheel’ is cricket. Not satisfied with the rapid fire 20 over stuff, someone has now come up with the idea of 100 ball cricket, 15 standard overs, plus 1 10 ball one! And instead of counties, and affiliation, there are going to be just 8 franchises. Now, lets face it, for example, if there is a franchise for the North, in Manchester, if they think Yorkshire folk are going to support it? Or vice versa? I suspect, in truth, both will get one, for the rivalry. But equally, if they think a West Country franchise based in Bristol, would get support from Somerset?
For US reader sake, imagine a baseball team, over 5 innings, 5 outs per innings, and 1 franchise in Los Angeles. You seriously think Angels fans would support it in Dodgers stadium, or vice versa?
The big snag with the cricket one is also the one our cricket board, as opposed to India, Australia and the like dont, is the financial one. Unless these teams employ international names, as opposed to county journeymen, who’s going to come and watch? Snag is, these things cost money, and the ECB dont like spending it, so…?
Oh fine, guilty as charged, I will probably watch some of it, when Sky Sports pay for the rights to show it, I’m sure. But do we need all these gimmicks in our sports, or not?
Video time. The snag with 70’s songs is finding live video performances from back then. Pre video cameras, and at a time when film of so many shows were wiped after use, ah well… So strictly, this is 10 cc. In reality, its one of the original group, but all the same…
Very strictly, the answer to that question, is wherever life takes me, I guess? But strictly, for 2018, assuming I live out the year, some things will happen, some things may happen, and some things almost certainly wont happen, but it would be fun if they did!
Anyway, lets be boringly practical first, things that will happen, assuming the life quotient of course. The biggest, and most obvious one to mention, is that I hit the big 60 next March. I know, who would ever have believed it? But yes, the body is definitely now giving me more than hints that its not as strong as it used to be, so… Hard to believe, that 25 years ago, when a woman hit 60, she retired from work! Now, with a longer life expectancy for everyone, and things, its another 6 years to go! Still, gives me chance to build up my pension, I guess, body permitting. Lets face it, I’ve already had to cut back to 4 days a week, and the back isnt likely to get better, only worse, so…?
The only other definite things at this point, are the fact that I will be heading to Seattle in May for 8 days (yes, already decided the back will be up to that, fingers crossed it stays that way once booked), though that will be the only US trip this year. Yes, thats one cutback due to the financial situation. I thought I might be able to pull it off this year, for the last time, the double trip, but no, now know its not going to happen! I have got a few thoughts for a break in September, but will only be a few days, and will only be in Europe. Well, unless the work syndicate wins the lottery lol! So yes, I’ll be using an airport wheelchair (or 5) in May again on that trip. Hopefully, all will be a little smoother than last time!
The other is, of course, working on a group on LGBT issues at work within our section of the Civil Service. First actual meeting is planned for some point in New Year, but location and date, TBA at present. Quite an honor, quite a challenge!
The maybe’s look trip related. I might try to get to Ireland, for at least some cricket this summer, though sadly it wont be that first Test match, as its literally the week before I go to Seattle. But other games are planned, so time, and finances permitting, it will be nice to meet old friends again, and maybe make a few new ones.
Hey, another maybe, I might write another story or two lol! I really ought to, I have a few ideas, but getting around to it, but yes, I’ll risk putting it on the maybe list, rather than the unlikely one! The other maybe, is my first ever ‘senior citizen’ pass. Yes, the Railway senior discount pass still is permitted from 60, so if I travel on the Railways in September, as I might, I’ll get one then!
The unlikely ones, but not impossible? Well, the first one obviously relates to performing, in an acting sense. I suspect a presentation style performance might be more likely, probably on LGBT issues, but I suspect that will be it. Lets face it, who’s going to want an actress who hasnt done anything much in years, and now has back issues, which means standing for long periods for a role, is nigh out of the question! But maybe, out there is a director/producer who wants to do something crazy, and then, well…?
Then we come to the silly stuff, that ‘could’ happen, but you can be sure wont. Winning a lottery jackpot (I know, theoretically, but me, win anything, dont think so!), getting abducted by aliens, turned into a robot, or regenerating (well, if Doctor Who can do it?) as a young(ish) Clara Johnson might all be fun, but none are going to happen, I think we can safely say!
Lets finish with a dramatic, stat based thing. Look back through early film history, and you find a lot of famous actresses who passed on at 60. Clara Bow is one that immediately comes to mind! Now its fair to say that health matters have improved nowadays, and I have never been a famous actress, so I’m probably safe, but… Still, hopefully we will be doing this in a years time!
The video tonight, isnt a proper one, but it fits the title, and yes, its the Carpenters, so just rolling with it. Just a nice song, that hopefully you can enjoy.
So, one blog to go for 2017, as its back to work tomorrow. Any ideas for something you’d love to hear about, either from this year, next year, or Clara Johnson’s era, feel free to suggest in comments
No, not admirers of my non existent good looks, before you ask! 😛 I’d be lucky if that was as high as 1.2, lets face it. No, the answer to that comment is test playing cricket nations, after 2 more were added very recently, Afghanistan, and yes, you’ve guessed it, Ireland! So, even without going to a cricket match in the interim, I’ve now seen 3 test playing teams live, at the ground, all in Belfast. The others? Bangladesh, when they played Ireland in a 1 day series in Belfast, and it has to be said, their fans were amazing. Oh, and Afghanistan, obviously. I have actually seen a very strong Australia B team too, and actually met Steve Smith, now Aussie captain!
Its fair to say that 10 years, and 4 months ago, you’d told me that I’d be waiting for Ireland to announce their first official test match, I would have laughed at you! Yes, I knew that in March 2007, they were going to play in the Cricket World Cup, and that I planned to watch them play, but I wasnt really expecting anything amazing. The rest of course, is history. A tie with Zimbabwe, then that amazing win over Pakistan, and a legend was born. And of course, 4 years later, that incredible win over England in India just added to everything.
Of course, in the meanwhile, they were dominating the Associates (less cricket playing nations) in a very big way. And then one country climbed rapidly up the rankings, to a point where they challenged Ireland in the shorter versions of the game, Afghanistan. Lets be honest, if the history of Ireland in that build up to glory period was troubled, it had, and still has nothing on Afghanistan’s! Afghanistan are (I believe?) still to play an international game in their own country, though hopefully, in time, it will happen. But fine, it might be some time lol!
And now, after last week’s announcement, both countries can, in theory at least, arrange test matches against those famous cricketing nations of the world! Will it happen, who knows? England have said they will play Ireland, and I suspect one of Afghanistan’s neighbours in the area will do the same for them, I hope so at least.
But no, not in my wildest dreams did I ever foresee this happening, 10 years ago. Hopefully I can get to that first test match in Ireland next year, work, and holiday allowance permitting. Just to say that I was there!
Oh, be grateful you got this, as my only other inspiration for tonight was political comment on another crazy Trump ruling, so…
Right, video time. This song is actually from 2005, it just doesnt look, or sound like it. It definitely has the feel of 70’s glam rock, and the lead singer, and her dress have an almost Harlowesque feel. So, for those who dont already know them (and should), this is Goldfrapp!
For those of us who followed Irish Cricket before 17/03/07, the events of that day were less of a shock than they were to most. Indeed, you could say that a few days earlier, when they only tied with Zimbabwe, that we were a shade disappointed by the result, half expecting a win, against a very ordinary team in truth, who havent got better over the years. But yes, that St Patrick’s Day win against Pakistan was the day the world as a whole woke up to Irish cricket.
Some of us, as I say, though in my case from a distance, had followed Irish cricket for more than a few years by then. Ancestry thing for me, as it was for a few of those players back in 2007. Yes, more than a few of them spoke with Southern hemisphere accents! Gradually over the years things have changed, and it was only this week that Ireland played a team where all 11 players were actually born in Ireland!
The rise of cricket in Afghanistan has been even more recent, though very dramatic all the same. Hopefully, at some point in the future, they may be able to play an international cricket match in their own country, though the security situation means it wont be just yet.
Over the next few weeks, in India, a virtual ‘international tour’ starts for these 2 teams. 3 twenty over games, 5 one day internationals, followed by a 4 day ‘test match’ makes up the tour. Yes, its only an Intercontinental Cup match officially, but given the changing situation within the ICC, next time they meet, it probably will be a test match, as both countries are likely to be upgraded over the next couple of years. Which, if they keep their word, will mean Ireland playing a Test Match at the home of cricket, Lords. Wow!
Its funny to think that just 10 years ago, if someone had said this would happen, even the Irish fans would have laughed at you, but now… I had, in truth, hoped to get across to a game this summer, but though I’m back in work, and the money is coming in again, its still going to be one trip too far, I suspect. But next year, fingers are crossed.
In truth, Ireland and Afghanistan will never rival the Ashes, or India v Pakistan in cricket rivalries, but for two teams that have built themselves up together, I’m sure the games will always remain special.
The video, what these 2 teams have done over the years. Until now, in associate cricket, but in the future, test series? Maybe in a number of years, those games may even be in Kabul? Lets face it, 30 years ago, the idea of international cricket in Belfast would have been looked on nervously, so…?
Yes, its one of those weekends of the year, when I’d rather be somewhere else. Not because of any personal issues, or anything, but simply because something special is happening, many thousands of miles from here. Hey, this weekend, seriously, you could offer me a choice of venues, but in the end, there’s only one I’ve wanted to visit for so long, and have to realistically face, I’m not really likely to get to. Yes, Alaska. Yes, its the start of the Iditarod. Indeed, the ceremonial start in Anchorage is going on as I type this. The race proper, starts tomorrow, a few miles away in Willow, of course.
Alright, fine, I am not designed for prolonged exposure to below freezing temperatures. Not sure I ever was, definitely not now, for sure! But all the same, would I love a look at the start of the most amazing long distance race there is, you bet I would! Oh, and fine, even more, I’d dearly love to be at Nome, for the finish, but that definitely is never going to happen, not in my wildest dreams!
So yes, yet again, I’ll be following it, via the internet, from the warmth of home, thanks to the Iditarod website. Do I mind who wins? Well, fine, yes, I’d love to see Lance Mackey do it again, but being realistic, its not so likely nowadays. So in truth, no, I dont!
Maybe one day, if, and when things are better financially, and I dont have any limitations on my time (due to the fact that practically, health wise, I’d have to take overnight breaks both ways to get there, and back, from here in the UK), I will get to Alaska, but I’m pretty sure it wont be at the beginning of March, even then. I doubt even then, that I will get to Nome (seriously, the fare from Anchorage alone is quite something!), but I might be able to walk in those paw prints, down 4th Avenue in Anchorage. Cant see it, but never say never…
Funnily enough, you’d also see some snow, and ice, from the other place I wouldnt mind being this weekend, even if its across the opposite side of the world.
I’m not a great fan of 20 over cricket, I prefer the 50 over, and multi day versions of the game, but fine, there are times… The 20 over World Cup actually starts on Tuesday morning, in India, which normally wouldnt be a Country on the top of my tourist list. But hey, given Ireland are playing their qualifying group matches in Dharamsala, literally set underneath the Himalayas, maybe I can make an exception? I first saw the ground when a match in that ghastly IPL was played there, and was taken by the setting, and the amazing buildings, and fell in love. Even then, I never imagined that 1 day, Ireland would be playing cricket there. Again, all I will be able to do is follow from home, but at least we get TV coverage of that.
Fine, money no object, and a special flight to get me there, where am I heading? Hmm? No, despite the fact that Dharamsala is a one off experience, and will be warmer than Alaska, still no contest, I’d see the start of the Iditarod tomorrow! Yes, I have no idea why, I have little, or no interest in mushing beyond this, but at 1000 miles or so, that race is just so special!
OK, the video. No shock, clue is in the blog title. I know, shocking, isnt it?