Jemma and I are busy – something going off on Saturday or other – so no time to write anything, literally, at all.
However, I thought I would re-post some TTD posts cricketwise, on the basis that my pessimism turned out about right in them days; now, 1-0 up against a truly laughable Australia side – you never know, you just never, ever know.
Here’s a post called “Tsk“, posted 23 November 2006:
Well, one day in and it certainly looks like normal cricketing service is resumed. I have no idea whatsoever what Harmison is thinking but he must be the softest fast bowler ever. These guys are usually renowned for being snarling, aggressive anti-heroes, but Harmison is as easily put off his line as David Cameron. This would be fine if we had other ripsnorting shitbags we could call on, but alas there is only Freddie to carry the fire to the Aussies, while he has to soothe Harmison’s troubled confidence at the same time. Truth be told, I only listened to the end of the day’s play, as I was waking up; I had been seized by the dread I remembered from previous tours: in 1998-99, though, I had no choice but to watch the horror repeatedly unfold, while last night I could anticipate it and go to sleep.
When we look at such utterly pathetic performances, it should remind us that we do, as the rest of the world thinks, have a tendency to arrogance at the slightest success. While we rationalise it by saying that we lose so often it is fair enough for us to go overboard when we win, everyone else just thinks we are trying to reassert imperial dominance. Growing up watching England losing regularly in all sports, except maybe rugby, it has been difficult for me to appreciate that other countries see England sport as part of the old empire: it just makes me think that if that were true, the British Empire would never have got out of Portsmouth.
And we struggle to maintain aggression in sport: it is as if we think we don’t have the right to assert ourselves (for what is it we are asserting when we play a game aggressively?), that we need to be timid and to play with some sense of guilt, almost. England – and Britain – is currently struggling to find a purpose and role for itself, as it has been since 1945. What makes this different is that now no-one really feels comfortable saying “British culture or English culture is….”. The only thing anyone wants to say is that it is tolerant. Great. Not much good if you are trying to psych yourself up to bowl at 94mph to the world’s best batsmen.
I’ve written before on the end of the UK. I’m aware that I’m heading for the same extreme I’ve just criticised England fans for (but the other end) – but would the end of the UK give the England cricket a purposeful and teleological boost?
Geez, cricket can be a depressing sport sometimes. That’s why it is the greatest of all sports.
And one posted 9 November 2006, called: “How Polly Might See Things (If She Liked Cricket)
The discussions surrounding the selection for the first Test show the cricket world up for what it is: white middle class men making sure their own nests are feathered. What could be more outrageous than a privileged man like Ashley Giles actually claiming a spot back in the England side ahead of the courageous Monty Panesar? Some people say Giles can bat and Panesar can’t: but that is just typical of the quality-obsessed world of cricket. It is a disgrace if Panesar doesn’t play. Why is ability to bat more important than ethnic origin? And if Panesar does play it is a disgrace too: we have had more than enough religion in this benighted world of ours and to allow a man who actually flaunts his belief in public is offensive to the world’s 5 billion atheists, who will be alienated from cricket as a result. For Giles to say that he will be “looking to impress” after his hip operation is a slur on the good men and women of the NHS – it should be obvious that his operation was impressive; unless he went private, in which case it is appalling that a man who betrayed his National Health Service should be representing England (an offensive enough concept as it is). The suggestion that the only working class man in the side, Andrew Flintoff, will be “looking to increase his workload” is another example of the rich exploiting the poor. In the end, as usual, it’s all about class. And I am left speechless about the call to militarism expressed at the end: words like “fought” have a long history of being used as excuses for battle and inhumane treatment of fellow persons. It just shows the psychological state of these middle class white men, or it shows that they are just not examining their prejudices. Either way, I am disgusted.
(goes and lies down in a light-decreased room, until the absence of light makes her think of the dark days of Thatcherism/Majorism).