We are constantly told we live in the iPlayer age; a time of instant gratification; pausing and fast-forwarding TV; where time is money. We are all time poor. We are bombarded from all angles by news, sport and information. We don’t have the patience to wait. Today, in the every-increasing gloom of Leeds, England and the West Indies struck a blow for those of us who believe that good things come to those who wait.
Regardless of the result – although for every England cricket fan, our second team will always be the West Indies and we had no problem raising a smile when they crossed the finish line tonight – the fact that the second test of the series finished after 18:40 on the fifth day of five is a cause of great celebration.Test Match cricket rocks!
Great sporting theatre doesn’t have to be packaged into 90 minutes or a 20:20 match or golf sixes to make it exciting – it can be five days of absorbing test cricket or four days of finely-poised championship golf.
I’ve never had much time – pardon the expression – for the white ball form of cricket. Nothing – absolutely nothing in sport – gets near savouring a close finish like today in a five day match. Perhaps my daughter’s generation – iPlayer generation 2.0 – will scoff at the idea of a sporting event taking five full minutes let alone five full days or a major golf tournament being played over four days with five hour rounds per day. I hope not. I hope that those of us who treasure the chess-like quality of great sport will pass on our love and appreciation of it.
I grew up watching football and still love to watch my Mighty Reds play but if you gave me the choice I would always pick a day on the golf course every day and twice on Sunday over a day sat in the stands of any football ground. The chance to take your time over your shots; to deliberate; to weight up our options; to carefully and meticulously go through your pre-shot routine; to examine the wind speed and direction; the yardage to the hole, the front, the middle and the back of the green; to work out which club to select, which shot to play; to walk slowly and calmly around the links; to enjoy the world around you. And to get to do this shot after shot, round after round is something special which is like nothing else.
Speed may be exciting but patience is a virtue. The West Indies haven’t waited five days but seventeen years for today’s victory. That will surely help it taste all the sweeter – whether you watched it on iPlayer or did what I did for five days and listened to it on the radio.
Photo taken from YCCC website: https://yorkshireccc.com/the-club/travelling-to-headingley