Well it is nearly, nearly, cricket time again. Which means we are all having to get ready, ready, ready!!! Ready for more weekends taken up by nothing but long days on the Cricket green followed by long evenings in the pub. So I thought I’d give you all a little window into all of the stuff that goes into preparing for the return of the cricket because it now seems to effect almost every part of my life. In a good way! Totally in a good way. Totally.
You know, it effects the whole family, all of them! The kids love to come and watch Daddy play so they have to start getting all their homework done before Sunday or they’ll miss their hero knocking it out of the park. And the wife does all the cooking for the teas and lunches now which is a hell of a lot of food. And I mean a hell of a lot of food. So much food. She’s spent this week just preparing the kitchen! She’s been buying new kitchen equipment (http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/), getting the oven cleaned (https://www.ovenu.co.uk/) and ordering a whole crazy host of food and ingredients.
As for me, I’ve been training and practicing. Spending whole days bowling out the tree in the garden. That is how you get to be the best. That is how you beat every and all people who stand in your way and try to win when you want to win. Because life is all about small victories. And big victories. And medium sized victories. Basically just all victories. Because winners never die. They live forever in the memories and knowledge of those moments where they triumphed. The drive to triumph over another is the drive that has made the human race what it is. That and opposable thumbs and the ability to cooperate.
SO! The sporting season is coming up and it is time to get ourselves in shape so that we can all play cricket again for some reason. Because it is really, really important that we are all really, really fit because if we are not really fit we won’t be able to swing the bats OR catch the ball OR run around a little bit (but not much really). If we are not at peek physical fitness then HOW I ask HOW are we ever going to walk that bit from the edge bit all the way to the bit where you hit the ball bit? It’ll be tough.
The bat bit
So we need to get in shape.
Because we are born imperfect. We are then imperfect. Unless we perfect ourselves.
That is a hash tag which a gym called primal health fitness are using to encourage their members. Now you could say that it is not right to call a certain form of physical change ‘becoming better’ as it is only one very specific change in one realm, rather than an overall arbiter of life success. Is the hash tag a little aggressive? Does it attempt to define life as simply a constant strive for the attainment of a certain body type that may not be possible for everyone? Or simply is not necessary for everyone? And shouldn’t be? Well, you could say that.
But maybe that’s a little selective. Language is restrictive and when trying to talk forcefully we often cross certain grammatical lines. How many university posters say ‘Become your future’ or ‘Achieve your dreams’ or something equally prescriptive. I would say that actually primal are far better as they are elevating the endeavor and the struggle itself, rather than simply the end goal. For instance:
It’s that. It is not:
That irredeemable prick. Which is quite a difference. It shows someone trying because they want to improve themselves in some way. Rather than someone thinking they are better than life itself because they were boring enough to stare bang their head mindlessly against some piece of equipment for 5 hours a day. I’ve never been to a gym.
But anyway. Fair play to Primal. We have some people who need to get a little better, and I think a gym like that might actually help them.
Communal activity means something. When people come together and share in such an activity they inevitable do so within a structure. This structure can reflect authoritarianism or equality. It can demand that one or two people command and rule while others sit and follow. Or it can reflect an equality of ties, a strata of solidarity rather than subjecthoood. A sporting organisation is an organisation like any other. It brings people together and how it brings people together matters. A sporting organisation can enforce a wider societal power structure or it can challenge it. Sport has long been used as a form of ‘soft power’ by colonial and imperial powers. The differences between a list of great cricketing nations and a list of nations of the old British Empire are small.
Two members of the first Maasai cricket team
When people come together they have power. They are a weapon and a tool. They can be a weapon and a tool for the interests of others, for the interests of themselves or for the interests of the greater good. What they become is their choice. So what do we choose? We choose to matter. That’s what we choose.
To pretend that organised sport is not a place for reflecting on the world is a conceit. It is very much part of the world, that is so true that it hurts. The only thing that hurts more is the hurt we cause ourselves and others by denying the power we have and the importance of our actions. Why do we deny our own power? Because we have been taught to fear it.
We have been taught to fear each other, to fear the giving of power to ‘the people’ and made to disassociate ourselves from ‘the people’. From the crowd.
But you are part of the crowd. And you matter.
And you’re part of the team. And it matters.