melbourne cricket ground

Before I begin, I should explain something: the Living List goal was to go to a cricket match, and so it would be reasonable to assume that meant I hadn’t been to one before. This isn’t quite true – I have been to the cricket many times.

My father was a cricketer. A fast bowler, very fast, very good. A bowling record of his still stands at his local cricket club, almost forty years after he set it. He was still playing when I was a small child, and the memories I have of this time are limited, but those I have are quite strong: playing under the grandstand steps, trying to keep myself amused, as the game went on in the field. Sometimes a game was at a local oval and I would drift away to play on the play equipment. There were large garbage bins full of water and ice to keep cans of soft drink cold, and although they were for the players, us kids would sidle up and ‘scab’ a can and run away before we would get in trouble. Most of all, I remember often being bored. I enjoyed watching cricket on the TV, but didn’t find ‘live’ play all that exciting.

Then dad retired, and I never really got another chance to go to another game. Wait, scratch that, of course I’ve had plenty of chances, I just never made the time. When dad would come visit us in Melbourne, he went in to the MCG, first for a tour and then to catch a day of a test match. And as many times as I’ve been past the MCG in the years we’ve lived down here, the first time I’ve ever been inside was to go to the toilet on the morning of my marathon.

This was before last week. Thanks to Cricket Australia we attended a T20 Big Bash League game between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers. Before we went, I was faced with a dilemma: am I enough of a NSW-er to go for my old state, or am I a Victorian?

The decision was…

Victorian!

I was amazed at not only the number of people in attendance but the amount of entertainment on offer. At points along the boundary around the ground were various acts – jugglers, hula hoop-ers, balancing acts and more. These would then get shown on the big screen, along with other games and challenges. A lot of kids were seated in our area and there was heavy competition to attract the attention of a nearby cameraman so they could get on the TV. We didn’t, much to Riley’s disappointment.

I haven’t even gotten to the game yet, which turned out to be a real thriller. I’d not seen a game of T20 before, so I wasn’t expecting the fireworks and explosions when the teams came out on the field, or whenever someone got out. There wasn’t a quiet moment between overs or in a changeover in play; you can tell the game is designed to keep everyone engaged in what was happening. No time to get bored here! Once or twice I was so absorbed with something that was happening around the ground I neglected to notice the game had resumed!

We were seated right next to the members area of the ground (the underground entrance to which was protected by a darling elderly gentleman, standing on a small rubber non-slip mat) and the position was just amazing.

I’ve got to say, I’m a convert to T20 cricket, although I would really love to go to an all-day or test match to see how that compares too. We had a terrific time. There were challenges, as is typical with children out late and experiencing new things: we had two separate tantrums and walks were taken in order to ‘cool off’ (but that did give me a better chance to orient myself to the place!). Adam and I recommend the coffee, and it was nice to hold the warm cup in my hands as the evening went on, for the weather got quite chilly. Not what I expected in summer! (Yes, I should be used to that feeling, I know.)

During the night, I told stories about my dad and his cricketing adventures. It felt terrific to be able to do so in that forum, and in that way. It’s been almost six years since his passing. Time goes so fast, doesn’t it? Sharing is remembering. I hope I always do.

Thank you, Cricket Australia.

Cricket-Australia

karen-portrait

Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood.