January 05, 2014
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Cricket is a game that can only be understood fully if one has grown up with it.  I have not.

It has confounded me for as long as I can remember.  My husband, on the other hand, grew up with it in South Africa.  Played it in school.  Played it as a young man.  Played it with his son from the time he could throw a ball.  As my husband sits for days watching one Cricket match on television, I have stared blankly at the screen wondering what the hell they’re all standing around for as some lanky guy comes running across the screen and has an epileptic fit before releasing the ball.  And when the players finally start jumping up and down I’m wondering what the hell just happened to make them so inexplicably excited. And they do this day after bleeding day!  It is a mystery that has plagued me for the past several years as I’m forced to watch and wonder in vain and irritation.  I’m slowly getting over ‘the giggles’ every time I hear LBW…

However, my husband has taken it upon himself to relieve me of my frustration and slowly, over time, explain the rules.  It’s a delicate procedure as too much information only leads to an overwhelming sense of confusion.  Too little information leads me to losing the will to live as I watch the madness.

A great opportunity for my ‘training’ arose when the New Zealand Black Caps hosted the West Indies at our little sports field here in Nelson.  Tickets were bought and a whole day at the field was planned.  I packed my iPad and a novel.  The few days leading up to our excursion, my husband focused on watching the Ashes – England vs Australia.  Australia was hammering England and it seemed everyone was irritated with the game.  I was in good company.  But this was my husband’s last opportunity to bang the theory of the game into my head so that Saturday’s outing would be a little more enjoyable for me (and for him).

I have to admit, it was starting to stick.

When we arrived at the game and took our seats, Brad immediately started pointing out the intricacies of the game.  I was getting it.  I was understanding. I started calling the plays before Brad could tell me himself.  There must have been some serious osmosis the past few days because I was ‘having fun’ watching Cricket.

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I’m not usually star-struck.  Let me re-phrase.  I AM usually star-struck, if I actually know I’m in the vicinity of a ‘famous’ person.  Normally, I’m so oblivious to who is around me that anyone can walk right by me and I’ll never know.  And if I do happen to recognize someone, my heart starts to pound and I literally start walking the other way because I’m so nervous of making a fool of myself.  Also, being from North America, I’m very aware of the paparazzi antics and never want to be associated with that crowd so I’ve learned to keep my camera down out of respect.  But as I watched the crowd, I noticed that a lot of kids, desperate to get their paraphernalia signed by these sports figures, were confidently calling out their names and asking openly for the players’ attention. And to my surprise, the players would jog right up to them and oblige!

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The looks on the kids’ faces were priceless and I had to capture it.  Unfortunately, as I was standing at the fence with them, I couldn’t get the right angle.  So I forced myself to get shots of the players signing ambiguous items.  It was strange to be pointing my camera at a celebrity who had not asked me to take their photo.  But I figured if some young adult could boldly ask for a ‘selfie’ with his favourite player, I could make an exception.

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I also saw Guy Williams.  He is a New Zealand TV personality who grew up in Nelson.  Although I’m not necessarily a big fan of his, I figured, as it was my day of ‘firsts’, that I would actually approach and ask to take a picture of him.  He insisted on getting the picture together so he asked his friend to take the shot…  In true ‘Tina’ style, I became tongue-tied for absolutely no reason and think I mumbled my way through it before thanking him and running back to my seat where my husband was sitting and laughing at me.  At this point, a whole lot of witty conversation items came to mind.  But it was too late.  Oh well… here’s the shot:

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