Boxing Day – better than Christmas

If I am honest, it doesn’t take much at this time of year to get me thinking about home, reminiscing a little, and potentially feeling a little home sick. 

Today, I read a brilliant article titled “Behind the Boxing Day buzz” by Will Brodie which got me there real quick.

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/cricket/behind-the-boxing-day-buzz-20101222-194zt.html

I don’t remember reading much of Will’s work prior to this article, but if this is typical of his work, then I am now a fan.  I thought he caught the excitement, the buzz, the anticipation and the general vibe of Melbournites and the Boxing Day Test absolutely perfectly.

I am young enough to not be able to remember there ever not being a Boxing Day Test match, but old enough to have been to most.  In the last 20-odd years I have been to every test at the ‘G, pretty much every day in fact.  However, for the third year in a row I won’t be there – and that makes me sad. 

I have sat through 5 hours of rain to catch that 40 minutes against South Africa, I saw Mark Taylor dominate Wasim and Waqar, I saw Border score his first ton in years against the West Indies, I saw Warnie take his hat-trick and Flemming just miss one, I saw Waugh guide the tail, I’ve seen Merv wind up the crowd.  I could go on and on.

I remember feeling extremely self-conscious as a kid screaming out to Merv for a wave, and then the proudness and joy when he did!  I’ve chatted to Warnie outside.  I’ve been in the rooms and had a bowl at the indoor nets.

I’ve watched from the old Southern Stand, from the Olympic stand, from the Northern stand, from the members and even once from a corporate box.

I’ve been with my family, with mates, with colleagues, while networking, on dates and by myself.

I’ve been sober, I’ve been inebriated, I’ve been somewhere in between, I’ve eaten, I’ve not.

But above all – I’ve loved every second of it all.

There is something that is truly magical about the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.  It manages to combine the very best of a glorious sport, a celebratory time of year and the best sporting stadium in the world.

I have seen tests live at every ground in Australia (except Darwin) and quite a few in the UK, and I have loved each and every one.  But none has quite touched me in the same way as when you walk into the MCG on Boxing Day.

That feeling when you walk into the stadium with 90,000 others – although if I am honest, I used to walk through Yarra Park past the MCG to work most days for a while, and I kind of got that feeling about the ‘G every time – is great.  It’s one of excitement, of anticipation, of just plain happiness.  The chat with random strangers, the roar as they come out – it is just awesome.

A comment to the article by The Richmond Camel probably sums up what I am trying to say best: “[Cricket] punctuates your summer … it renews friendships … it affirms that all in life is well.

Yes Richmond Camel – it sure does.

Enjoy Boxing Day – I’ll be there in spirit, and watching all night long.

However

If Ponting misses this match it will be because of injuries sustained from knocking Watson’s block off – quite appropriately as it turns out.  It was disgusting when Watson led the media charge last year to replace Hughes as the test opener.  His none-too-subtle attempt to put himself up as Ponting’s imminent replacement right now is even worse.  I refuse to write about him in detail two pieces in a row, so that is all I will say about it for now.

I have applied to the Home Office for English naturalisation papers just in case.

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