Tomorrow I’m taking my dad down to Birmingham for the t20 Blast cricket finals day. As a big Yorkshire cricket fan, Mally is chuffed that he will get to see his beloved county play on a finals day for the first time.
Generally an undemonstrative man, I find it heartening to sample the joy he derives from watching the game. When watching the county of his birth, there is rare dropping of the impassive façade he ordinarily exhibits, exposing a side that is a tad more zealous.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to a significant Jekyll & Hyde type switch in personality. He doesn’t walk through the gates of a cricket stadium and transform from the unemotive Dr Strachan into a belligerent alter ego who drunkenly abuses umpires and players alike.
I’m alluding to the fact that when watching Yorkshire play cricket, he passes through a portal to a place he ordinarily avoids. A land where tribalism is ignited and he overtly displays emotions of the importance his team are victorious. It clearly hurts him if the county of his roots are not victorious in vanquishing their cricketing foes.
It’s good to see something, other than his family, that he overtly expresses genuine care about. Don’t get me wrong, he cares about lots of stuff, just doesn’t habitually show it openly.
He used to exhibit a similar persona with Leeds United football club results, however, that love diminished and they are now just estranged friends.
He can’t complain too much about the fallout following their split, though, as he got the kids and the cd collection. Leeds United were saddled with the debts and a subsequent life of misery with a series of unreliable suitors.
The two hour (or so) journey down to Birmingham should be “interesting”. Mally means well, but he loves to be in charge of navigation when residing in the passenger seat. The problem with this being his directions aren’t the easiest to follow. Not to mention that at times they are delivered in voice that exudes uncertainty and often not in a timely enough fashion to safely respond.
Tomorrow I will be utilising my Sat Nav (GPS) to guide us to our Birmingham hotel. However, I can envisage a scenario where, as I attempt to concentrate on navigating West Midland roads I haven’t previously driven on, Mally and the Sat Nav women end up at loggerheads over a missed turning at Longbridge.
On arrival, we have a taxi booked to transfer us from the hotel to the cricket ground. Hopefully, we can complete that journey without Mally’s direction OCD causing the taxi driver to tersely tell him “Look if you think you know better pal, you bloody drive?!”
With each t20 blast game only being 40 overs in length, the two semi-finals and the final are all played on the one day. Yorkshire play northern neighbours Durham in one semi-final, the winners playing Northampton or Nottinghamshire.
The pitching of Yorkshire and Durham means the county of my birth, roots and where I now inhabit play against the county where I was brought up. However, there is no split loyalties for me, I’ll be cheering on the team representing my roots, birth and where I’ve resided for the last 20 years.
That’s no disrespect to the county of my upbringing who, if victorious in their game with the white rose county, I’d cheer on in the final later in the day. However, the pull of roots usurps the pull of my childhood residence, in particular when it comes to sporting events. So I shall be supporting Joe Root and his colleagues.
A potential dampener on tomorrows enjoyment maybe the erratic summer weather we are “blessed” with on this sceptre isle. As is its want during important fixtures, the forecast is for rain during Saturday in the West Midlands.
With cricket being a game deemed unsafe in heavy rain, there is a chance we may lose all or part of the play…… God, I’m such an optimist aren’t I?!!
Seriously though, I’m sure if precipitation intervenes it won’t write off the full day. Being well organised, Mally and I can fill our time eating our picnic (a bag of Seabrooks crisps), playing ‘Cricket Bat Jenga’ (if we can borrow 32 bats) or just argue with the Sat Nav lady who has the seat next to my dad!
I’m looking forward to the father and son bonding break with my old man. I could never repay him for what he’d done for me in the last 50+ years; nevertheless, hopefully I can contribute in a small way towards locating the rarely seen emotive side of my octogenarian pater.