I realized somewhat of a childhood dream when (and I can barely believe I am admitting this) I attended my first Ashes Test in Sydney this year. Ever since I was a boy I have watched Australia and England go at it every couple years from the comfort of my home. Sure, I’ve been to many cricket matches – generally ODI’s, but never an Ashes Test against the old enemy.
What better way to get off the mark with my two older boys and a mate on a beautiful Sydney day on January 6, 2011?
Unfortunately Australian cricket is not in the same state it was a handful of years ago. We’ve enjoyed immense success for nearly twenty years, particularly against England; we’ve been the true world force for almost as long. Not any longer. Or not right now, as I prefer to think of it. You can’t beat everyone forever. It’s been a good run.
Heading to Day 4 of a lost series where England was on top was not what I had envisioned some nine months prior when I bought the tickets. Good tickets at that. The plan was that we’d be watching Australia wrap up the series and summer a day early with a 4th Day victory and earning the little urn back. With Australia bowled out for 280 and England sitting pretty at 7-488 I decided there was nothing to do but enjoy the day anyway – for cricket’s sake. This rivalry is a tradition that dates back to the 1880’s – surely one of the longest and grandest in sporting history.
Pies, chips, ice creams, drinks, novelty items, shirts – we loaded up on it, and though the gear was ultimately for a lost cause it still represented the fact that we were there. Despite how hot it was.
Which explains the photo. My boys love playing cricket, and have moments they enjoy watching it. But on a hot day they can quickly become miserable – before excitement of ice cream fades and they return to miserable. The problem, I have realized, is that we have more of an opportunity to go to games – more than I ever had growing up – so we do go, even though Nevan is only 11 and Liam 8. As I think back I remember only really getting into cricket when I was a teenager. They just might not be ready yet.
In any case – cheers Murph for coming along to what was another day of English dominance. I did enjoy watching the Barmy Army going off and the general feeling of being a part of something special. You need to lose some to really appreciate winning. One hopes (I hope) Australia returns to its ways sooner rather than later.