It’s 5.00am on a Saturday morning, the heat and humidity are oppressive even at this hour. I shuffle into the kitchen an addict seeking a hit, hunting my drug of choice
The two things that contribute to my survival, especially on Saturday, are;
- Coffee: I can’t form a sentence until the first sip of glorious liquid has been consumed.
- Shower: I’m not leaving the house without soaping up my body first.
With the above, the check list every Saturday morning of the cricket season includes: whites soaked and ironed to perfection, lunch packed, two folding chairs, five litres of water, two bottles of Gatorade, one giant tube of sunscreen.
Why do I put myself through this at an obscene hour? Because from October to March, my blond- haired boy aspires to be the next Brett Lee with his bowling; he possess the ferocity and passion of Mitchell Johnson as he powers down the pitch to claim wickets. His under-14 cricket games are taken as seriously as Michael Clarke takes The Ashes.
My Saturday cricket buddies (aka other parents) are a good bunch.
The coach is a high-school deputy principal. He pushes the boys and has a quiet, tough-love influence that is astounding to watch. He’s led them to three premierships.
Jim, assistant coach, also our next door neighbour. The supportive and encouraging one.
The drop-and-run parents of triplets in the team; no idea who they are.
The older parents in their late 50s . He’s blind with a cane. She asks him every time their boy does something significant, if he saw it. Some days I want to yell “No, he didn’t. He’s blind.” Other days when I have had more caffeine, my eyes fill with tears at I tear up at her commitment to share the experience with him.
The single Dad of two: my kindred spirit in caffeine addiction. He always has my back when it comes to coffee.
The divorced couple who sit at opposite ends of the field and send messages to each other via the children.
The passive-aggressive competitive couple. Our kids went to kindy together and now the same high school. I avoid her by burrowing into my camp chair. When she does corner me, I feel my teeth grind.
Over the past three summers we have witnessed the benefits of participating in Australia’s iconic game. Mateship, working as a team, the art of graciousness in winning and losing, responsibility and leadership — and I’m not talking just about the kids.