Thursday, September 23, 2004

August 15 (Sunday): The Big Quiet. It could have been better. This morning I wake up sore and depressed. I spend most of the morning on MSN to Sara, procrastinating, not wanting to play cricket. I ask her if she senses a certain reluctance on my part to play/attend and she says she does. Around midday Stevo phones me from a train on his way back from London and Wimbledon football somewhere. He tells me that he's still a bit ill and he might not play. I don't give a god damn.

Eventually I motion out with reluctance, really not in the mood to be around my bosses today and fearing fall out from my antics on Friday night. On the way I stop off at Asda and check out their delicious quick treats, opting for a kids Dairylea meal. Me purchasing that must appear pathetic.

I have little problem finding the venue, there can't be that many places around Stanway where you can squeeze a cricket oval in. Finding the venue is easy but finding the car park, not so good. I end up parking in a kid's school playground. Our venue for today is basically some private rich kids' school and it is other worldly to me, the sort of place of opportunity that make my old eyes go green.

As I search for the correct car park, Randy Pan is turning up also and having the exact same problem. As I pass him, on my way to correction, I gesture to him and he appears to ignore me. Oh fucking great, it appears he is still pissed at me from Friday night.

When I finally show my face around the cricket box, Jack is there greeting me and seems oblivious to my acts of carnage from Friday night. In fact, in general no one around is mentioning it much, seems life goes on. I get bought a Stella and I get ready to roll.

Initially today I don't intend to play in white, I have an attitude and minor cob on so white really isn't for me, no enforced attire is. Gradually though I mellow and I wind up wearing a white t-shirt over Millwall's green and white away shirt.

Against what he said, Stevo turns up on time and we begin with our team fielding. The weather today is mixed at best, earlier it looked like storms almost but gradually the sun comes out periodically. Last year, Sunday cricket was my best point of catching a tan but it doesn’t look as if that will be the case this year.

This year our team is far superior to last, we have more match practise and more practise in general and soon wickets begin to tumble as our basic b-side bowlers take care of the early overs. I take my general stance of mid leg (or something) and stand bored waiting for my inevitable half a dozen ball action to be hit in my direction. 30 overs later and we have taken care of the girls team for barely over a hundred.

At tea we feast on caffeine and cake. After initial suggestions of putting me in to open ("no fucking way mate"), I am down to bat third. We begin our innings and I practise batting like a madman, determined not to be out for a duck for a third time! Brian is good to me and bowls me a number of balls out back, giving me pointers and telling me where I am going wrong. Personally I feel I really need to get my defensive strokes down because I am swinging at the ball like a madman, like I am playing baseball! After a good showing, Kevin gets bowled out and suddenly I am in, in a partnership with Stevo. I walk in tentatively and I get it pointed out to me that I look terrified. Very astute. I face the closing ball of the over and manage a defensive stroke and get through my first ball (wow, major accomplishment). As the second over starts out, Stevo grabs and single and suddenly I am in bat once more. I face the next ball and (accidentally) slice it behind me to where Sunny's cousin Min is and I get my run and then Stevo calls me on the grab a second. I manage to get through the remainder of the inning. As I begin to get settled Stevo makes contact and begins to call me to run but I shout “no!� and in the process almost run him out. Luckily it doesn’t happen but it does come close and I feel really bad for such a close shave. Not long afterwards I get bowled out and my innings is over but I manage get on the scoreboard this time and for now I am more than happy to settle for my two runs (what a fucking failure).

With the pressure now off, the sphincter begins to loosen and as the day improves weather wise, it becomes more fun and fun. I settle into drinking a Stella and larking about with my team-mates, including Jack. A wasp chooses to buzz around us, particularly me, and when it lands on my chest (on the Millwall badge on my shirt), Jack takes the good opportunity to pound me there. Cheeky mofo. I grab my phone and begin texting Phoebe and people ask me about her, so I show them my Cantonese phrase book and show them some of my new learned language. The girls/ladies act really impressed while the partners make crude comments a many, not least Who who asks if her woo woo is horizontal like her eyes. Ha fucking ha. Jesus Christ, what an arsehole, I don’t go around making jokes about his wife’s cunt do I! I talk to Rarry, Randy Pan's girlfriend, and the subject of us going out Friday comes into play. Once more I am a good guy and don’t even hint at a mention of Sarah although she claims she caught him out ("really?"). I tell her I feel he bullies me when we are out getting pissed but she disagrees, telling me how much he likes me (apparently). It’s good to know, even if I don’t feel it.

In the meantime on the field of play, a few wickets fall and a few people retire on 25 runs but all in all our team is in the strongest position by far, this year our team is very hot and the poor girls are taking a battering. There is one girl on the team that I recognise from last year who I thought was really pretty but this year however she has super butched up and now kinda makes me feel a bit funny.

A few people turn up from the carnage that was Friday night, those being Jammin and her odd husband and Iran with Jackie and his dogs. Jammin acts particularly cold to me and I am likewise to her. I speak to Iran about Friday and more memories and accusations come flooding back and once more I feel ill about things. With him he has brought his dogs Billy and Charlie and they are now huge compared to when I saw them as pups (they're some kind of hunting dog). Stevo grabs and walks it around, he looks so at home with a dog it is sweet.

On the field now, our team really have taken control and run up a good score, at a rate that it is only a matter of time before we have won. And it is still early in the afternoon. Eventually we win with the partners in bat and Melchard scoring the winning run I believe. Was it fixed so that the game would end that way?

With time on our hands we proceed to have another quick game, a little 5 over match with mainly the b-team players taking more centre roles. And this means me. I get into bat once more but this time I fuck up, after almost going out there with no pads, and get bowled my first or second ball whilst batting opposite Who in his silly hat. Whoops. Once our overs are done, Jack grabs me and tells me to bowl. He obviously doesn’t think I am up to it, getting me to throw a few practise balls ("dude! I can fucking bowl!"). I get to bowl the fourth over of the spoon game and with my first ball I go straight through the batter and bowl them out. Unfortunately however I was not within the wicket when I bowl the ball, whoops I really do not know the rules do I. I have a really strange over bowling. I keep plugging away very inaccurately and don’t actually get any runs hit off me but still run up about five extras. Confused, I almost the umpire if the over is a maiden. I get to bowl again in the sixth over and bowl the same batter again but this time it counts and I am ecstatic. I also get a bowl hit by the batter which loops and hangs over my head and were my feet a bit quicker, I could have caught the ball and in honesty I should have moved and caught the ball. For my efforts, I royally get the piss ripped out of me for that one. As the over ends, it is down to me to close the (mini) match. I feel like a pitcher in baseball going for the save. My probably basically though is accuracy and I struggle to put the ball right up the batter, as opposed to getting any pace on it, which I am actually pretty good at doing naturally. In the end though I keep my nerve and we win with Jack really congratulating me.

At this point Mah has now arrived with her boyfriend to watch and participate in a works social. Poor cow. By now the barbecue has kicked off and slowly we dig into tucker grub, always a bit sheepish to take those great second helpings we desire. Hilariously after we are done, the women from the cricket league come around asking for a £2.50 to chip. Whoops, I only have £2. Stevo to the rescue yet again. As we line up for our group photos, Melchard gives me grief comparing our performances, like its some kind of competition. Why do people feel they have the need to compete against me, do I really pose some kind of threat to them? And Melchard especially has been going a bit OTT recently. For the group photo I hide at the back with Randy Pan, don't want my ugly going down in this history.

Around 5pm we call it quits, with Jack wishing me on my way very enthusiastically in the highest of spirits. Seems I have done something right for a change, result!

I get in and it's Sunday evening, what a drag. I do nothing other than bath my ass off and listen to Bill Hicks and David Cross MP3s. At 22.14 I receive a text from Phoebe “Hiya super sport dude! Lets just say I learnt not to text you Friday or Saturday nite! My day was gd thnks hope ur evening is gd too�. Good night.

np: Jeff Buckley - I Woke Up In A Strange Place


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