View Full Version : Gideon Haigh's Bradman Oration

October 25, 2012, 01:22 AM
Gideon Haigh shares some wonderful anecdotes and speaks about the enduring charm of club cricket.

I'm a cricketer. The game is the longest continuous extrafamilial thread in my life, and I'm attached to it as tightly as ever. I started pre-season training in April. I own a cat called Trumper. And while it's hardly uncommon to have a cricket bat in the house, not everyone can claim to have one in the kitchen, one in the living room, one in the bedroom and one in the outside dunny.

I represented my first club, the St James Presbyterian under-12Bs in Geelong, when I was 9; I played my first game at the mighty Yarras in 1993, and I'll play my next one this weekend. The rest of my life has been contoured accordingly. I married my wife during a Christmas break; we became parents during the next Christmas break; on neither occasion did I miss a training [session], let alone a game. We delayed our honeymoon until it was a bit more convenient. Until an Ashes series in England, anyway. I certainly thought it was convenient.

They do say that the first step to dealing with addiction is admitting you have a problem. Okay, here's my problem. I'm no bloody good. Oh, I'm not terrible. But, I mean, you can be terrible in a hilarious and companionable kind of way. Me, I'm just mediocre in a hanging-on-for-dear-life-oh-God-let-it-end-soon kind of way, one of those park cricketers who answers to the designation 'allrounder' because I basically do nothing very well, everything equally badly.

Read More (http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/587974.html)

I particularly liked this sentiment:

"There's an interesting contrast, I fancy, between those groups we form ourselves, for our own enjoyment and beneficiation, and those formed for us, for maximum economic efficiency. The modern corporate world has developed to a fine art the act of building empires of strangers. For our own parts, we seem to prefer environments where it remains possible to know everyone's name, where we're connected by the intangibles of friendship and mutual reciprocity rather than by the formality of titles, ranks, reporting lines and organisational matrices."

October 25, 2012, 01:23 AM
This part is good too:

Sir Donald's epic career, in fact, was bookended by administrative roles. Some of you will know that his first job at Bowral Cricket Club was as the first team scorer; I dare say that his books added up too. He was picked for his first game as a 12-year-old, in the time-honoured tradition, when the XI was a man short.

When Sir Donald's playing day was done, the master of the game became its foremost servant. While everyone revels in 6996 and 99.94 - and we were never going to get through the evening without an invocation of those totemic numbers - a stat I love is that he also attended, for nothing, 1713 meetings of the South Australian Cricket Association. I also love the fact that someone bothered to make that into a stat.

October 25, 2012, 01:30 AM
And I think everyone in BC can relate to this, even if it is in reference to Australian club culture:

In our daily lives we are regularly beset by institutions that leave us feeling powerless, voiceless, helpless. Government institutions. Commercial institutions. Financial institutions. Religious institutions. Media institutions. It's easy to think: What does it matter what I do? What influence can I possibly have? At the little sporting institutions we make for ourselves, we aren't powerless; we can and do make a difference; we can put a shoulder to the wheel and feel the thing move.