Whenever The Prof and I dared to look away for a millisecond today, something happened. It was annoying, as really we had lots to do other than watch the team stomp all over England’s last few shreds of dignity. Don’t get me wrong, after what we had to watch in India and England last year, I could watch Tatts, The Natural and The Freak rip through a batting line up and leave it battered and bruised 7 days a week. But the role of the fringe players, members of The Reject Club, is to spice things up by keeping abreast of what’s happening in the world and bringing their experiences back to the dressing room to keep things real, and we take those responsibilities very seriously. [Ed. Better than sitting around dwelling on the fact that we’re not quite good enough to make the team.]
We finally talked Sarah (from Marketing) into pulling in a favour and arranging for us to get a session in the Sky High Restaurant – a purpose built table contraption which is lifted up by a crane so it dangles above the scoreboard for half an hour. She arranged three tickets, so off we went to pretend to consume a bucket of Sponsor’s Chicken while casting 11 herbs and spices into the prevailing winds.
She thoughtfully arranged it so there were no high profile guests [Ed. No other high profile guests, that is] on our roster, just competition winners who didn’t even know how we were – worryingly, they were just in it for the chicken.
We were greeted by a functionary from the PR company running the gig for the Sponsor. She was dressed in green and gold livery and sporting a bucket on her head. The safety briefing went on for longer than a team meeting under our former mentor Coach1.0. “Stay strapped in, don’t drop any chicken, hold onto your cutlery, don’t drop any chicken, no swaying the gantry, don’t drop any chicken, blah blah blah. Any questions?”
As expected, The Prof couldn’t resist. “What kind of chicken was in that bucket on your head – original recipe, or hot and greasy?”
Without flinching, she rattled off the party line. “These are special promotional head wear items produced for the Ashes series. You’ll receive your own one in the Souvenir Gift Pack you’ll be presented with when we’ve completed our dining experience.” She’d make a good umpire.
Once up in the air, the three of us marvelled at the view – the city, the ground, the procession of rather forlorn looking English batsmen trudging in and out of the dressing room. It was a welcome distraction from what was happening at close quarters, with our dining companions concentrating on making the most of the opportunity to eat as much of the sponsor’s product as possible. We didn’t touch the stuff, but The Prof did grab a serving on their infamous coleslaw and, while no one was looking, cast it to the four winds. The colourful blob sailed earthward, dissipating somewhat before landing atop the next group waiting to head skyward. It is fair to say that some of them found the possibility that they had not just been hit by incoming coleslaw somewhat disconcerting. Enough said.
With the first three days of the match having been sold out for months, I’ve got heaps of friends holding tickets for Day 4. As the day progressed they kept asking me by text, Facebook message and email “Will I get to use my Day 4 tickets?” I answer them all, much to their disappointment, in the same way. “You’ll be able to frame them unused.”
Australia 326 and 4/140, England 155. This is moving too fast!