I remember the first time I went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. The boat was big enough, although neither the reef shark nor the return trip in the late afternoon in a rollicking swell did much for my constitution. Whilst the boat swayed to the rhythm of the ocean, I hung out the side completely nauseated laying a trail of burley for the birds following in our wake. When Coach2.0 whispered that I might get a game against Northampton, I felt the same way as the bacon burley swallowed at breakfast began to burn its way up my oesophagus. The Prof saw my distress and asked if I had finished in the nets. I was eating into his net session with The Freak and Hollywood. Needless to say, I swallowed my displeasure, and asked him to swallow his. I feigned a look of hurt and told him luck was a fickle lover “Who knows, I might injure a big toe in the nets to scupper the idea.” The Prof was not amused.
“The prospect of running out one of the Captain’s doesn’t appeal then?”
“I would have to reacquaint myself with tour averages first,” I retorted.
Coach2.0 asked me if I took the game seriously at all.
“No. Apology accepted coach.”
If insubordination is any antidote to losing, this may push me up the batting card. Coach2.0 looked at me, shook his head, and went to talk to the Chairman of Selectors, who was wondering if he should apologise for something, anything.
At least the press are off our backs. The Captain is in London with Mrs Captain for a break. The ex-players are quiet at last.
I spoke to my Dad in the early evening. He wanted to know if the wives and girlfriends were still around. He had been listening to Heals beat up the no WAG tour policy and read Coach2.0’s (Darren’s blog) explaining it all. I told him I might get a game soon. He laughed, and then told me we had already lost the Ashes – didn’t we read the papers? Great.
My nephew wasn’t much better. He didn’t care if I played or not; if I did, then I had to play to preserve my average of 40; if not, that would be a wiser choice. He wanted help on a maths problem his teacher had given him for talking in class. ‘A boy had 5 apples, 2 red and 3 green. Work out the mass of the sun.’ The teacher gave him a Saturday morning detention so he had enough time to think about it. I asked him if he cared. No he replied. This would save him from the final soccer game this season. They had lost every game.
No wonder Coach2.0 had not been sleeping well.
When I climbed into bed it was short sheeted. I knew who had done it, so I phoned reception and asked for wake-up calls for the Prof at 2 and 4 am, and The Freak who was rooming with Hollywood for 1am and 3am. I took my phone off the hook.
Pranking your own people rather than the opposition provides some light relief. It’s all up from here.