Saturday, 28 April 2012

A new season

Fantasy Bob wishes all East of Scotland Cricket Association cricketers a successful league season.

Not as successful a season as he wishes himself.  Obviously.  Of course.  There would be no point to that.  No point at all.  In fact he really wishes many ESCA cricketers a conspicuous lack of success, at least when facing FB's bowling or when bowling at FB.  Nothing life or career threatening.  Just a temporary blip in form when FB shuffles to the crease or when he creaks in to bowl.   That would do.  Nothing unkind.  Just enough so FB can persuade himself that he can still cut the mustard.

But FB is a generous soul and these are unkind thoughts.  So without nastiness or rancour he wishes the same lack of success on these cricketers when they come to face his teammates.  Not as much as for himself, for FB needs more assistance but enough to make that difference.  If his mustard cutting days are to continue.

The evening preceding the new season is obviously a highly spiritual time.  Oracles have to be consulted and divinations made.  It is some seasons since FB last sacrificed a chicken and examined its innards for portents of the season ahead.  He never found it all that helpful but it passed the time.  There being no chicken or even goat to hand this year, FB instead examined his Chicken Tikka Massalam thoroughly to see what it might predict.  It remained inscrutable.

The new season is shrouded in mystery, just as all the others in FB's career have been.  Never moreso than in the first weeks of the season.  Finding one boot makes conspicuous the fact that the other is not lying in the cupboard beside it. There is a struggled recollection that the dog was chewing something that seemed vaguely familiar in January.  Did he bury it?  Every corner of the garden is dug up without success whereupon the missing article mysteriously reappears. (Members of FB's world wide readership should not worry that Mrs FB has suddenly acquired one of these little handbag dogs so beloved by the glamorous set to whcih she undoubtedly belongs.  While she has the handbag, indeed she has handbags enough to kennel a pack of hounds, she is disinclined in the canine direction.  This interlude is therefore fiction and will be submitted for the Booker prize for fiction in due course.  Everything else in this blog is fact.)

There is the mystery of the disappearing players.  Establishing that there are 8 players available can be exhausting enough.  Extra biscuits are required to find players 9, 10, 11 - and 12 since there is a call off higher up the club.  The burgeoning membership list that looked so plump and fruitful in the close season can seem a cruel joke as midnight approaches.   Vodaphone profits soar.

But the greater mystery is form - who can tell or explain whether FB will, as it were, hit the ground running (or at least walking fast which is his maximum pace these days) or will suffer an early season crisis of confidence?  Will his new bat and pads make any difference?  There is no knowing.

But FB does not let such minor troubles bother him. As long as there are empire biscuits on the tea table and a cold beer at the bar after the game, the season will be a success.  It would be nice to score some runs;  nice to take come wickets.  Nice to appear vaguely competent.  But you can't have everything and if asked to choose, FB would opt for the biscuits.

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