Coups and Caps 2
March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
Recap @:— On field I’d gone down to tick off Bradlow’s ess em orf. Losing my cool in the process. There were two reasons in my mind for that— Front Foot I’d noted was decidedly weak on the on-side lacking any real show of a glance stroke to score simple boundaries, and then that change of stance yielded a hint of real awkwardness for him if I could but bowl to the right spot…
Yet here and now let me stress how to the other I was somewhat headstrong. For the lined weather-beaten fielder confronting me stated a strong body language called Ignore. Of course I did not know why; then I wasn’t supposed to. So occasioning more heat than light which really did fire up those in our vicinity. Front Foot for one, and to my utter surprise — nay shock! — the umpire, Mr. Upright, halfway down the wicket behind me, who had gotten into a downright temper at the cuss.
Now back to the action..
“Who said that!” goes the umpire with the ‘ump, “come on, which one of you was it. Aint starting agin till I know—”
Well, I’d thought it was Orf, but he was grinning, shaking his head in answer without even looking further round. To him I hissed, “Wasn’t me.. and if it wasn’t me.. and it wasn’t you.. ?”
He tilted his head up and my gaze followed his.. to the wicket-keeper. Keep wasn’t saying anything either. But he sure was prime with a clown Caroli mime. High on his toes, lips pouted to an Oooo!, eyes round and wide, sleeved arms thrust forward and gloved hands parallel in the ultimate gesture offering the culprit’s head directly in front of him as on a platter..
“You!” Upright spat at Front Foot. “You, you of all people! Well, I’ll tell you this, NOT ON MY WATCH! So foul, I don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, there will be no foul language when I am at the crease. No, I know I’m not at the crease right now—don’t you dare answer me back.. You hear!”
As he went on to demand an apology, Front Foot spinning away on the balls of his feet, flailing his bat in the air rather than face up to the shame his longheld loathing of close-in fielder set ups had wrought, the fielder explained grimly: “Plan B, John. Kinda like what you tole Brad, FF focussed. Keep’s right, too, batsmen don’t break golden rules like don’t upset umpires, not when that means he’s next for the finger he could do without. So, okay, I’m ON and you cover off.”
Joking o’ course, I told myself, and turned to walk on back past Mr. Upright and commence play.
I bowled my very first ball in my very first game for the Sox. Ess em ON was in place, a little too close(silly) for my liking though mustard keen for plan B to pay out. Keep, too, was stealthily up to the wicket figuring a slower ball to trap FF into a patsy the product of which was only down to me—the one that could see. Deliver.
The ball flew in line and length for the very spot mine eye had affixed its trajectory to pitch. Just a little short of FF’s ankle and exactly where I knew his leg action would prevent his seeing it. Contact being more luck than judgement. And, hopefully for us, no luck and bad judgement mustering at the end of a high and seemingly fiercesome batswing.
A good glancer would have had no problem, giving himself room with deft footwork to make the stroke. Suffice to say FF made a shot all right, though nought to be proud of. Utterly mistiming his point of intended despatch and, panic-striken I daresay at finding the ball rising as he pushed his bat out further than was riskfree [ IMHO lifting or removing it from a strike would have been the way to go even though that could have been tough on his groin 😉 ] gave a handle thwack to the leather.
The ball moved too quickly for a dolly catch, but it was in the air and rising as ess em ON literally sprang into all’s fair in loathing vs flair. Whose arms shot up and both feet leapt from the ground in a block or cover at all costs movement. The ball disappeared for a moment, I and other fielders catching our breath at the spectacle.
And then, just as suddenly, popped out headed for the off-side.
Well did I pump thigh to get down the pitch for a rebound catch! Whether at the sight of me or not Front Foot had had presence of mind to set off on a run. Oblivious to this distraction, however, I locked my eyes on the ball’s progress. Metres short at its zenith there was just no time to wonder how it had elevated so much. Falling fast all options closed out and I made one almighty dive forward. Eyes locked on, an arm out full stretch and I’m flying for an instant of open-handedness. Then plumbb! I see it, feel it, wrap my fingers to hold it just off the ground. Decidedly. Mind telling of catch to claim. As one does with a roll and adrenaline-pumped jump upwards to find the umpire’s finger and fling the ball aloft in triumph.
Though not I. And not then. For landing at the end of my dive knocked the breath right out of my chest and I passed to black for an instant. Next I knew rough hands grabbed my shoulders, propped me up, Keep calling first to me then others. “You okay. Ya gottim, boy, ya gottim. Hey guys, this one’s back from the angels. An’ guess what, he’s still gotta the ball..!”
This one? I thought, blinking around. On the other side of the track I could see umpire white coats around our late great player, laid out cold on the grass. I got up and stumbled over, pushing to the front of a ring of players, uniformed ambulance people on their knees busy with sponges and salts. When he came to, mumbling, grumbling, a collective sigh went up from all of us. Then I got word from them what had happened…
“Took it full on.. the face.. not the face, the er, the head, the temple. Got a hand to it I’m sure he did. Bruises ull tellus won’t they. Gee, his last game—what a way to.. to bow out. Bloody knockout! Fool.. if ever there was a K.O. position.. yeah, the silly in silly mid-on..”
Strangely, there was no humor among them, not even for relief when he was conscious, standing and able to walk off the field. Retired hurt, as they said. Bradlow asserting himself to them: “C’mon guys, let’s finish this. Howse about a six wicket win. Hah, you up for that.”
They were up for exactly that. Visiting their colleague admitted to hospital for overnight observation – by afternoon tea. By the time I-the-rookie nonetheless had gotten to his bedside he was looking tired, the bump on his head freshly cold-compressed by a nurse just about keeping him awake. “Hi,” I said, ” how’s my hero?”
He mustered strength at my question to open one eye large and, in the manner of classic Clint Eastwood – Mr Cool – to Richard Burton in their co-starring Eagles movie challenged, “Fart, huh?”
“I’m sorry about that,” I started at which he cut me off.
“I’m not. I’m okay.. I’ll get over it. Nobody tells Sox to pith off. Nobody. By the way, I’m sorry no one mentioned plan B to you.”
“Wouldn’t have worked if you did,” I replied matter-of-factly, refraining from comment of how they had used me (played me) in making the fuss. And, having heard a decided lisp, choosing not to ask about it.
“Making it work, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it. Thanks for that. John. Yep, when I get outta here that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.. if they’ll have me.”
The Georges Board would have him. As you all know. Strangely, I was to think for some time, though he never once mentioned the play described above to anyone. Why being the lisp legacy and how he could not utter the cuss like others. And because he did not, I did not.
In all the years since I rate his loyalty to you, members everywhere, and the Club, alongside mine to him and now his memory as Pith a triumph.
At this point I was about to wrap and stepped back a pace from the lectern. A call from the floor rang out: “Monsieur, le coup, Coup de Crux?”
“Oh yes, of course, I almost forgot. Thank you for reminding me. Let me see, in the short time remaining.. paraphrasing Maupassant: What Value Triumph Unshared?
Among the more glorious curious remarks I would say. In my own case mind-turning. Pith, to me, was gone: the price he paid ought not linger. On. Alone.
Whence applause began .. compliments.. they — blessed to say .. getting it straightaway. And coming in behind.
Sunday’s or Monday’s Worldwatch had John (Greer?) present a remarkably good take on counterfeit drugs. In particular, the value of pointing out how suppliers of anti-malarials to clinical patients were adding minute amounts of active substances in order to get around sound regulatory controls. Such small amounts make for bug resistance rather than effective dosages. Excellent illustration of why counterfeiting is an issue in let’s say large asian markets. That said, I sense that such an example serves those markets well in respect of curtailing the practices. And not as a leverage to global (viz all countries) solutions.
Speaking for NZOG(Oil & Gas) a Mr. Roberts addressed listeners to Jim Mora’s Panel the other day. Wondrously about “petroleum” a singular source to so much economic and wealth-making activity throughout the world. One accepts his need to promote kiwi-centered exploration. He would after all self-rate himself a performance executive. But language like “gasoline” is the future of emerging economies – (India, China mentioned) and for pharmaceuticals, plastics etc – is more a disservice to reality curves and future yields than any enthusiasm for markets would warrant. Thus, and without wishing to be unduly critical of the fellow, I’d contribute to the “NZ Conversation” the latest BP Report per year 2030 – [ not so very far off!! ] which tells of gasoline-powered vehicles passé at and from thereafter. Biopharmaceutical will also have supplanted patent medicines in the supplyside markets that Big Pharma hath engineered for themselves. Bio (degradeable Plastics likewise.
Speaking to Minister Bill-the-English I would ask in light of incomes and financial projections whether PROPITIOUS or PROPITIATE constitute a sensible balance he and his government ought now strike in the manifest interest of the nation in its global context. Is all or nothing the struck deal? How about one – the looksee leader – and/or several such..?
InfoPo$ — For good folks to be aware of and check out …