A night at the Big Bash – Taking one for the kids

I’ll take a bullet for my kids, however, under no circumstances will I put a Colonel Sanders Fried Chicken bucket on my head while watching a bunch of mediocre state cricketers hack it around the park in the Big Bash.

 

Warning: The following story is written by a bitter balding (yes, bald) 40 year old ex-cricketer who grew up in the 1980s and yearns for the return of Symonds cricket bats and helmets with ear guards and no grill. The writer may also be suffering from a mild case of PSD following 4 days in a cramped hotel in Geelong, refereeing 186 scuffles a day between his scallywags.

 

Whilst on holiday in Geelong I thought it might be a good idea to take Mrs D and the scallywags (aged 4 and 6) to the Big Bash game between the Renegades and Strikers at Kardinia Park. I’d never seen live sport at Kardina Park so was keen to check it out.

 

The scallywags and Mrs D were excited. I was sceptical. To date I’ve been able to take the Big Bash in small doses. I can drift in and out when it’s on the TV, but I can’t get through a game from end to end. I think for the most part because I don’t really give a shit. I don’t have a team or a reason to care. A franchise is not a team, in the humble opinion of this grumpy old man.

 

We take our seat in the Gary Ablett Terrace. The ground looks a treat. No longer had we been seated than an elderly couple come over and notice Harry in a Renegades Hat. Their daughter played in the WBBL match and they are now heading off, so offer us their tickets on level 2 of the Reg Hickey Stand. A kind and much appreciated gesture. We set off to premium seating luxury.

 

The first thing I notice as I scan the ground is that I recognise bugger all of the players. Mostly average state cricketers with a smattering of international players from countries who don’t wear whites on a regular basis. Where is the star power? If Cameron White is your marquee main, then it feels like a Premier League First grade encounter to me. Not even any ex-Aussie players, with ages approaching the pension trying to eek out one last pay check and moment in the sun. Gee I wish they had the decision review system in the Big Bash, just so we could see Shane Watson challenge one that is hitting all 3 pegs and put himself above his team for one last time (oh, the memories).

 

The second thing I notice is the noise. Every bloody second over ‘make some noise’ is flashed on the big screen followed by a request for the systematic flogging of Thundersticks. Can we not watch and absorb? Heaven help us if we have the audacity to chat. You get the feeling that unless you join in some CA staff member will escort you out of the stadium. Gee, not much credit is given to the spectator. Have we really come to the point where we have to instruct seemingly intelligent people how to respond to a simple game.

 

Do we need to dumb everything down and Americanise everything? Let’s give our kids some credit shall we? Kids can in fact concentrate, if you dare give them the chance.

 

I need some space so go off for a wander. On my way to the Gents I see two doors closed in the Hickey Stand with the signs ‘opposition analysist’. Each team has one. I’m tempted to dodge the 142kg Samoan security guard and force my way in. Seriously, what the hell is an ‘opposition analysist’ doing at a Big Bash game? Are they miked up to the coach relaying the ‘key information’ that 98.6% of balls are being mishit over cow corner? Who is in there? 16 year olds playing playstation or perhaps some ‘brilliant’ level 4 coaches who never got out of 3rd grade as players?

 

Sitting behind us is a group of 5 mates, who are about 6 beers deep into their night. They banter as only blokes who are half-cut can. One bloke has brought his much better half along. She sits alone 4 rows away and he ‘checks-in’ about every half an hour or so. After one visit he goes back to his mates and says, “sorry boys, I’m contractually obliged to check in with my misses every 4 overs”. I feel like sitting old mate down and warning him that he is on a slippery slope. In my estimation there are probably at least 3,684 male options in the stadium that may offer more appeal to his better half, if she chooses to look sideways for someone who may treat her better.

 

There is some decent hitting by some bloke from the Strikers as he reaches 50. The bowling is either military medium or nudeish nuts from the spinner. Batsman face no real fear and can just plonk on the front foot and hit through the line.

 

The Renegades take the field and put on a master class in mediocre batsmanship. White nicks and nudges around as wickets fall around him early. The game is shot after about 10 overs, as are my scallywags, who have done remarkedly well given they normally go to bed at 7.30pm.

 

I’m keen to get out.

 

The moral to this story is that it appears I’m out of touch. My scallywags absolutely loved their night at the cricket. The shouted when the big screen told them too, their eyes lit up when the fireworks launched and they cheered with all their might as blokes inside edged balls to fine leg. The colour and brashness certainly drew them in. At the end of the day they were totally engaged in the cricket and that genuinely is a great thing. It is such a joy to seem the enjoyment on their faces.

 

The Big Bash is putting a new face on cricket and it seems inevitable that the cricket as I grew up with and love will slowly fade away over the coming years – change is inevitable they say. I doubt my kids will be playing two day cricket in local competitions or even 50 over games in 10 years-time (it may even happen quicker).

 

Crash, bang, wallop will be the way to go. It is still cricket I guess, but I can’t see a day when it will get me in.

 

At the moment a ball sits in a stocking attached to our front garden tree. I try and teach Jack (aged 6) the forward defence. All he wants to do is to try ramp shots. I try my best to fight the good fight.

 

I’m a father who loves his kids and passionately believes in the benefits of a lifelong involvement in sport, so I’ve got no choice but to suck it up and accept the fact that time doesn’t stand still. That being said, if you do see me at a Big Bash game in the future and come within 3 foot of me with a Bucket, then I won’t be responsible for my actions!

 

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About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.

Comments

  1. Colin Ritchie says:

    Took my grandson to the BBL last season, he loved it but for me, it was all too much, overwhelming. The noise, the non-stop flashing lights, too much happening at once for an old fogey like me. I just didn’t have time to reflect upon the cricket. Sign of the times I guess!

  2. We have to simply accept, Craig, that we’re past it! I know I certainly am, when it comes to just so many pursuits in the 21st century! I once believed there was no generational difference, but sady, I was wrong.

    I would never, under any circumstances, go to a Big Bash game. Went to North Sydney Oval last year to watch the Bulls play NSW in a one-dayer, and that was almost unbearable. Wretched loud music between each over and when a new batsman came on, flashing lights and the rest. Hated it!

    Let’s just hope that that stupid AFLX doesn’t go along the same path. Heaven forbid!

    Long live 5-day cricket and long live four quarters of 25 minute real footy!

    Go Bloods!

  3. Gee, and I thought I was a grumpy old man !!
    I don’t feel so bad now, Craig.

    I am a rusted on Test-match-loving traditionalist, but even I attend a few BBL games every year.
    The secret is to take it for what it is: hint, it isn’t cricket!

  4. Nice one, Craig. The best thing about Twenty20 cricket is the WBBL.

  5. Why do BBL games last so long? Twenty overs!! Should be 10. Or maybe 5. Or none. Yes, none! That sounds good.

  6. Dave Brown says:

    Different strokes for different folks, Craig. I can’t imagine a form of cricket less likely to appeal to Almanackers… except maybe T10. One thing I’ll take exception to, though – the world’s best limited overs bowler (Rashid Khan) was playing in the game you watched – as far as limited overs cricket goes, he is BIG star power. There were also a number of Australian senior current and former Test and ODI cricketers (Alex Carey, Billy Stanlake, Ben Laughlin, Cam White, Dan Christian, Kane Richardson). I’m not sure it’s their fault you don’t recognise them.

  7. craig dodson says:

    Fair points Dave, each to their own re tastes. As someone who doesn’t follow the IPL and hasn’t seen Khan play for his country i’ll have to take your word for his standing in the game.

    Re the other players like laughlin, richardson and christian, granted they have played a few one dayers but pretty low profile in the scheme of things unless you follow the game a lot closer than i have in recent years. Not sure any of them would get a sideways look if they wander down Bourke st. At least they have worn the green and gold (well and truly got me covered) so good luck to them.

    A thumbs up for carey though, looks a good prospect for a 50 plus test player.

  8. Luke Reynolds says:

    I absolutely detest the ‘make some noise’ announcement on the scoreboard.
    I took my boys, now 10 and 8, to Test cricket first, then an ODI, then Big Bash. They love all 3 formats, but at this stage the BBL gets most of their attention.
    The engaement with fans after the game is something that makes our trips to the BBL worthwhile. My oldest son got a photo with teenage Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who has played a huge role in helping Nepal gain ODI status, as well as doing well in the IPL, after the Melbourne Stars game on New Years Day which was a huge thrill for him.
    I think they’ve made the BBL far too long this season.
    Well done on taking the kids to the cricket, get them to the Boxing Day Test next season, should be a great game against the very good New Zealand team.

  9. craig dodson says:

    Cheers Luke, i took the boys to boxing day this year and got a session out of them, which i thought was a good start.

    Hope 2 day cricket is around the local club scene for the future and its not just 1 dayers or bust for the kids

  10. Tony Cuzner says:

    A game that only takes a few hours to complete; entertainment that can be a bit hit and miss (but mostly hit); a bunch of players who wouldn’t be recognised in most of the rest of the world. Sounds a lot like an AFL Grand Final to me, except I don’t have to pay exorbitant amounts for annual membership + GF ticket prices and/or work for one of the major sponsors just so I can attend. Go you good franchise (and Bloods)!

  11. Craig I go occasionally but yes just doesn’t have the same emotional attachment at the Strikers v Renegades game there were more red backs in the Renegades side than Strikers yuk when the Strikers won last season it was go home now doesn’t compare to Sheffield shield and ageee the bloody noise but we are not the designed market ( surely as a shield regular I get to sit where ever I like I may be known to have mentioned where are you at shield games on the odd occasion as well )

  12. Craig is so just my kind of guy! I myself despise the corporatisation of sport.

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