Cricket: Commentary contributes to soundtrack of holiday bliss

By Damian O’Donnell

Picture this:

You’re sitting on the banks of the Murray at Yarrawonga just down river a bit from Bundalong. You are shaded by a large leafy willow tree that has seemingly been there since whales walked on land. An ice cold beer is sitting on the arm of the chair, kept ice cold by the new Cats 2009 Premiers stubby holder (A Christmas present from a lovely and considerate wife).

The warm sun is filtered by the tree but not blocked by it, so you get to feel the sun dancing with the shadows on your shoulders. You reach out for the beer, hold it firmly, tilt it slightly and let it run down your throat. You can’t help but say “ahhhh” after each sip. It’s not contrived, you really mean it.

“Ahhhhh.”

In front of you, about three metres away, the water sparkles in the afternoon sun. “It looks like diamonds,” one of my children once remarks. Indeed it does; millions of floating diamonds.

Where you are sitting is that part of Lake Mulwala where the river flows into the lake (only a few kilometers upstream), so in front of you is a wide expanse of water populated by the dead trees that were long ago flooded when the lake was created. It’s a remarkable landscape. A water desert. The trees stick out of the water dead as dodos but many refuse to fall, like fossils that won’t be buried. Some of them provide nests for hawks and owls; some have lost their top half, so the stump wallows in the water like part of an exposed ship wreck; and some lean to one side like a broken outhouse door.

The sound of a boat and squealing children flashes past. The kids are sitting in inflated rubber “biscuits” being dragged around behind the speedboat. The biscuits jump and slide across the boat’s wake and almost get flipped over; hence the squeals. The children yell at each other completely in raptures, but also exhilarated by the possibility of being dumped into the water. After a few seconds these sounds drift away into the distance again as the boat scoots away from you with animated children in tow.

As the boat disappears the sound of the cricket on the radio can once again be heard. The commentators are humming away as if conscious not to cause too much interruption to your reverie. That’s what you love about listening to the cricket commentary. It invites you to listen but doesn’t command you to listen. The commentators are discussing the state of the game and the possibilities and various outcomes that could emerge in the coming days.

You take another sip.

Ahhhhhh.

“Nother one?” It’s one of your mates whose family is holidaying with you and your family.

You pick up your stubby and give it a little shake to assess the level of the contents remaining. Your conclusion: dangerously low.

You lean back in your deck chair and turn to your mate.

“Why not?”

About Damian O'Donnell

OK – which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought ‘The Sorpranos’ was the best TV show ever made – by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne’s suburbs.

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