The sun, sea and cricket in Durbs
Test cricket’s kinda like politics – a bit of scheming and luck, and the game changes
Wednesday evening. I’m whipped.
An afternoon working at the beach with the Small Lahnee, the Big Lahnee’s (that’s Mrs Harper to you) nine-year-old tornado in tow while she went to the hair salon has put paid to me.
I’d already been in way less than showroom condition before hitting the beach.
The Small Lahnee’s been around since school holidays started and has been keeping the Big Lahnee and Mister H (his terminology, not mine) on our individual and collective toes. Nine-year-old boys have a special kind of energy that only long evening sessions in the ocean can take the edge off of.
A festive season and a Boxing Day cricket test spent in the company of deviant bastards like the Ghenginator, JahNoDead and Jikijela has broken me. Badly. All three of them have joined the flood of Gautengers who descend on Durban’s beaches in Mercs every December.
Jikijela’s from the Cape Flats via Wentworth, JahNoDead’s a Stanger boy and the Ghenginator hails from Effingham, but they’ve all settled in the Centre of the Universe and have been throwing themselves around my city with the carefree frenzy of upcountry reprobates on holiday since they got here. Not that the beach was their primary destination, although JahNoDead does get in a swim or two.
The three of them are big test cricket fans. And keen stadium drinkers. I’m not good at alcohol during the day. It puts me to bed too early. And makes me the kind of stupid I prefer to be when it’s dark. That hasn’t stopped those three though, and I must confess to getting stuck in on Boxing Day, unlike the Proteas.
I dig test cricket, though. I used to think cricket was some elitist rubbish – the result of going to Durban High School in the early 1980s, I guess. I’m not a fan of the one-day game or the bang-bang version, but long-form cricket has bitten me, mainly thanks to hanging out with the Ghenginator, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be on Boxing Day than Durban for the test.
Test cricket’s kinda like politics. There’s a lot of long-term plotting involved, scraping up the dirt on the opposition and working out their weak points. Things are never what they seem. A bit of scheming and luck, and the course of the game can change three or four times every day.
Back to the beach. It’s boiling hot and we’ve wrapped up our interviews. I whip off my shirt and hit the water where the Small Lahnee’s been keeping himself occupied. It’s magnificent.
There are worse ways to earn a living.