September 2003 President’s Day

President’s Day is a mix of celebration and mourning.  Celebration for deeds done and honours won.  Mourning at the close of another “Casuals” season.  Together, President’s Day and “The Last Night of the Proms” herald the end of civilisation as we know it for another year.

Bill’s stirling statistics summarise the season’s herculean efforts.  Only 4 wins, but Wealdstone was one of them.  I was able to quietly walk away from their wicket keeper.

Over 400 runs in an afternoon on three occasions – Yapham, Jesters and Huddersfield RUFC.  These three, with Upperthong and Jacob’s Well, could have gone either way.  Poor bowling against the rugby club and late start from Sam at Upperthong made the difference.  The difference in the Jacob’s game?  More of that later.

Outplayed four times (Druids, Romany, Cryptics, Darton), our total knocked off for 2-3 wickets.

Will was pick of the batting for me, with Sam and Umbers close behind. Also have a look at Duncan; 10 innings for average of 38.

Bill, Jim and Marc bowled the most overs.  Note our two slower bowlers with good performances; Greg and Umbers.

Modestly, I accepted the fielding prize for hanging on to the catch that turned the game against Jacob’s Well.  I was doubly pleased with it, having felt a pratt earlier in the season against Jesters off Umbers’s bowling.  Has anyone else noticed how his body language gives the faintest of impressions that he expects his catches to be taken.

Fielding at long off and long on is a lonely business.  Its a bit like being an anaesthetist – 95% boredom and 5% panic.  Jacob’s had kept a big hitter down the order and he skied one to long off where I’m paying attention.  Mercifully its a black orb against a clear sky.  I’m walking in, too far, stepping back, doing a bloody waltz with the ball, but still its in the air, dropping steeply, I’ll not get two hands on it, straight at my head, straight at my right hand atop my straight right arm, all in a straight line to my right eye, drawing a bead on it, I can’t miss, I can, I don’t, my greedy fingers shut tight.  I fall over.  A short stunned second, and then they came from miles around, to smile and joke and remark that they were there that day when Walker performed the improbable.

Some felt that the selection for the President’s Day game was biased in favour of the Chairman’s eleven.  Their total of 201 was always going to be difficult with good all round efforts from Ollie, Duncan, Rob and Alan.  There was a full turn out of Walkers.  The evening bash was excellent and a fitting finale.

After the celebration, the mourning.  Fellow melancholics may recognise that vague sense of regret which hovers on the edge of our awareness, the realisation that we’ve turned out to be somebody else.  Some take it to heart.  Remember Fitz?  His womanising, drinking and gambling?  Fighting back at the games played by sociologists and literary theorists which attempt to compress and compartmentalise our lives.  Fighting back at those who dared to give him hope:

“Fitz isn’t post-modernist or post-feminist or any of those other post’s.

He’s post-Hillsborough man.  He’s frightened of believing in anything any

more, because he used to believe in so much.”

(Jimmy McGovern talking about the character played by Robby Coltrane in the TV series, “Cracker” 1995)

Remember King Lear?   A man so distraught by the disparity between expectations and actuality that he went mad:

“You seem me here, you gods, a poor old man,

As full of grief as age; wretched in both.”

(Lear, II, iv)

Mind you I think I would’ve too.  His daughters, Gonerill and Regan, are particularly nasty, and they don’t keep nice company.

Whilst some struggle, others acclimatise and eventually live in harmony with the stranger they’ve become.  Its nice to have help:

“No trusting hand awaits the falling star,

I am your father, and I am sorry,

but this is the way things are.”

(Roger McGough, The Way Things Are, 1991)

For those who pursue a more solitary reflective path, writing can make sense of the seemingly senseless:

“I rhyme to see myself,

To set the darkness echoing.”

(Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist, 1966)

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