ICC World Cup 2015: Following without seeing

Bm(2) F#m
I am the Decommissioner

A(open)     Em(open)
Guilty of the worst sedition

G(open)
Helicopters on my trail

   A(open)       C(open)
I’m dancing like a hare krishna!

– The Decommissioner, Dan Kelly

 

The ICC World Cup 2015 is at the quarter-final stage. Yesterday South Africa played Sri Lanka in Sydney. Further knock-out matches are scheduled over the next three days. In Australia, on free-to-air television, we’ll see one of them.

Something like 42 group matches were conducted over the past month or so. And I’ve read lots of careless opinion lately, questioning the value of the World Cup pool phase. People arguing that the whole thing was a waste of time. Well of course the best teams qualified for the knock-out phase. That’s why they’re the best teams. The point of a World Cup surely is to offer the CHANCE of winning to everyone. That’s a World Cup.

 

And I’ve thought about the lack of vision on free-to-air TV here, for all but Australian games. For most of us, the World Cup, held in our backyards, has sunk without trace.

 

But that’s fine.

It’s great.

The absence of vacuous TV coverage has enabled me to get on with much else in my life, while checking score updates (if the mood takes me) via the web. A couple of games have whet the appetite (New Zealand v England, Ireland v West Indies, England v Bangladesh, an Afghanistan game come to mind). A couple of individual efforts sounded impressive (AB de Villiers, BB McCullum, TS Southee, for example.)

But for all that, I’ve not missed the vision. Maybe seeing happenings with my own eyeballs would have changed my life. Maybe not.

But whenever the whim has taken me, I’ve been able to check score updates online (espncricinfo for the facts, Twitter for the opinion).

 

Following without seeing, concentrating in short sharp steps, I’ve meanwhile been freed up to: teach guitar; listen to childrens’ stories; listen to music; make Butter Chicken (1.5kg diced chicken, 4 cloves garlic (crushed), 2 tspns garam masala, 2 tspns ground coriander, 2 tspns ground cumin, ½ tspn chilli powder, 2 tspns paprika, ½ cup natural yoghurt, 80g butter (chopped), 2 tblspns white vinegar, 2 tblspns tomato paste, 410g tin tomato puree, ¾ cup chicken stock, 5 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 300ml cream, 1/3 cup fresh coriander (chopped); Step 1: combine chicken, garlic, spices and yoghurt in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 3 hours; Step 2: Melt butter in large saucepan and cook chicken mixture; Step 3: Add vinegar, paste, puree, stock, cardamom and cinnamon; Step 4: Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered ~30 mins or until chicken is cooked through; Step 5: Add cream, stir til heated through; Step 6: Serve and top with coriander); iron shirts; mow the lawn; make school lunches (vegemite rolls, banana bread, cashews, nectarine); write wee stories; talk on the phone; duck out to the pub; live a life.

 

I’ve long suspected that sport on TV represents a crossroads of human endeavour. Sure, I’ll sit on my lemonade here and watch you people busting your proverbial. And for what? For entertainment, ultimately.

 

For me, the entertainment is not in seeing a six hit (though seeing the perfectly bowled outswinger comes close). No, it comes in wondering what’s going to happen next. The anticipation. Speculation. How will people react to this moment. And to the next.

In cricket, at least, that wondering plays out just fine in ball-by-ball written description. It’s how I’ve taken in most World Cup games. Far from having me pine for Foxtel, this tournament has me satisfied that without it I’ve missed nothing, and in fact, have been able to get on with living aspects of my life that that I otherwise may have forsaken.

 

Today Sri Lanka won the toss and batted. Twitter was full of people itching and hoping for South Africa to choke chasing a large total. But DW Steyn and KJ Abbott never let Sri Lanka get away. Someone called Imran Tahir took 4/26 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 133.

I checked online this afternoon, collecting kids from school as K Sangakarra dug in defensively. By the time I’d brought in the washing Sri Lanka were in sufficient strife to render the game over. I didn’t check the score again until I had stacked the dishwasher (kids reading (Harry Potter (again) and Lemony Snicket (The Reptile Room))).

In the chase, South Africa lost only one wicket and got them in 18 overs. A whooping. People may get on board South Africa now, but still, in the one match I attended in person, they were ordinary against India in Melbourne an eon ago.

 

We’ll see (or more likely, not). The TV is decommissioned. I wonder what will happen next?

 

 

Bm(2)   F#m
Oh Mr. Police Commissioner

A(open)       Em(open)
Look at it from my position

G(open)
Apocalypse is comin’

Bm(2)       F#m
And I’m really a concerned parishioner

A(open)     Em(open)
Acting on my own volition

G(open)
Taking the extreme position

A(open)           C(open)
I’m tired of all this indecision!

(Boom)


– The Decommissioner, Dan Kelly

About David Wilson

David Wilson is a writer, editor, flood forecaster and former school teacher. He writes under the name “E.regnans” at The Footy Almanac and has stories in several books. He is married and has two daughters and the four of them all live together with their dog, Pip. He finds playing the guitar a little tricky, but seems to have found a kindred instrument with the ukulele. Favourite tree: Eucalyptus regnans.

Comments

  1. Love it ER. I’m with you 100%. The Avenging Eagle and I made a conscious choice NOT to get Foxtel, because we would become couch potatoes and miss so much else in life. Its for after retirement – MAYBE.
    I grew up in the country and TV reception was often dodgy, so I ingested most footy and cricket over the radio. The players were so much better in my imagination. The games more dramatic.
    And that is how I follow the World Cup – online score updates (ball by ball when the poms are threatening to lose a close one); the wonderful Guardian weekly podcasts and the Almanac writers.

  2. You had me at Dan Kelly (love that album). New fave Dr Seuss book too – I can read with my eyes shut. So much in it – I reflected on it the other night and Harley was wondering why I was sitting in silence.

    Carry on

  3. E.regnans says

    Thanks PB, Cookie.
    I was ~20 years old when this payTV broke into Australia and I declared: “I’ll never pay for TV.”
    It was written down and preserved as a family quote stuck to the fridge by magnet.
    Nothing in the intervening 20 years has caused me to alter my view.

    Love Dr Seuss.
    “oh the places you’ll go” an old favourite.
    And love the sitting in silence.

    Yep, carry on.

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Living well, ER. I’m going to try your Butter Chicken in the next few days.
    However, I’m a Foxtel disciple. I doesn’t dominate my life, we rarely watch free-to-air, and having the choice to watch all World Cup matches has been great (though mainly watching bits and pieces of various games). If it wasn’t for the sport I wouldn’t subscribe, though “The Flash” on a Wednesday is not to be missed!
    Keep up the chords, Dan Kelly a great act to follow.

  5. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Lovely ER. And share your sentiments. Friday night footy had very much the same feeling in Sydney for years. Work done, family home and fed, the siren would go and the washing up would get done, the vacuuming, the clothes folded and put away, the knitting continued, the kiddie chatted to, a cup of tea or the rest of the glass of red … Whateley, Parkin, Schwab. Then the weekend was for pleasure.
    Now it’s a rabble. We’re slumped in front of the visual by the inane minutes before the first bounce, dinner in our laps. And Saturday morning is a mess.

  6. Love your thinking ER. I hear you too PB. And I love butter chicken.

    We’ve bought pay TV here in Singapore, and its content is similar to Foxtel. Here’s the weekly highlights-

    shark documentary
    Kardashians
    fecking cooking show
    shark documentary
    fecking cooking show
    Kardashians
    Kardashians
    shark documentary.

    Yes, that’s about it.

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