i took a moment at lunchtime yesterday to step out of my body and just really take in what was happening in front of my eyes:
a guy busy in mid phone conversation running in to bowl to a batsman trying to play shots with just his left hand on the bat [as he had broken his right hand recently in a sister-encouraged skateboarding incident gone horribly wrong] while South African Sevens rugby player Paul Delport [who my two friends referred to as Thinus Delport the whole time and i didn’t just cos i didn’t know any better altho that was the name i recognised] stood to the side waiting for a catch…
okay it was not quite the 438 SA win over Australia that took place mostly while i was cycling a really enthusiastic Argus Cycle tour on the 12th of March, 2006, which in all probability was the greatest one day cricket match ever, but it felt like it should have been up there with the real sense of surreal that pervaded what was taking place before my eyes…
a moment later my friend MJ [aka Muscle-John, Majay, Michael-John] was writhing on the ground with the agony that cannot be properly addressed or tended to as my other mate [one armed skateboarding Roy Conrad Langhein] had the ‘great idea’ of emulating 2.21m [7 foot three] Pakistan bowling giant Mohammad Irfan by hoisting MJ on to his shoulders to bowl a ball from the same height, not taking into account that the forward motion and energy of delivering the ball might affect the centre of gravity so much that Mj would go tumbling forwards off Roy [altho with bits of him not able to go forward as easily due to Roy’s head being in the way causing said infliction] and deciding to rather appreciate Irfan’s height and bowling ability from the stands.
we ended up sitting two rows behind Paul and he was just such a friendly dude. he spent a lot of time chatting to us about the rugby sevens set up and the first win SA had had in a tournament for a bunch of years which they had just returned from and some of the training schedules and so on. for me this really captured the heart of what test cricket watching in SA has always been about – the vibe and the people and the fun and the chance to unwind and forget for a second about the seriousness and tragedy of all that is going on in the country and the reminder of why it is important to leave the game at the end of the day and take up the struggles of being a part of making a difference in all those difficult areas so that days of cricket can be enjoyed.
the day ended with these two young black kids about ten rows in front of us just picking up the vibe of the beat of the music that was playing and dancing with such life and energy and just seemingly for themselves – we all cheered when the camera guy finally saw them and trained his camera on them and we are hoping they made it onto highlights footage of the day, but they really just seemed to encapsulate the hope and life and energy that exists in south africans and especially the youth of this country and the hope that difference and chance and betterment is possible and achievable and, dare i say it, even likely?
what a day. what a game. what a vibe. more, South Africa, more.