Some of my best friends are those guys from the middle level. They helped develop my self-confidence, with advice and support. I’ve become a pretty decent sportsman since and can hold my own in most sports.
Australia is like the first group and England is like a mixture of the second & third. I was watching Australia on the morning of the second day as they were walking onto the field and was amazed by what I saw. Ricky Pointing in front, totally ignored several young boys who held up their hands for a quick touch or handshake. This was their idol, but either he did not give a damn, or he was totally focused on the job at hand. Adam Gilchrist, a white wolf amongst the grey, on the other hand was all smiles and camaraderie, shaking hands or giving a high-five. I wonder how that moment would affect the lives of those lads years from now?
Australia have won the 2nd test of this Ashes series in unbelievable fashion. Yet I can find no love for them. Respect yes, but love & admiration, no. I reflect sometimes on why that is? Is it really that I perceive the Aussies as the bullies that pushed me around, or even worse, totally ignored me, or do I really care for the underdog, like England and want to see them rise above all and conquer?
I suspect that I’m being a bit unfair to the Aussies. They that done more than any other country in the last 15 years in terms of developing their cricket, and raising a bar to which others are still trying to grasp, far less touch. Yet, I still dislike them. England, my dream team collapsed on this last day in the most unbelievable fashion, and I feel so sad.
England will be jeered, heckled and demonized by the media, especially in England. Yet, I will be there supporting them for the remainder of the tests, hoping beyond belief for that magical moment when they win three in a row, and bring back the memories of the kid no one passed the ball to, to the young man who became a forward striker.