Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)
TITLE: Dreams Fulfilled
By Margaret Holahan
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Our first experience of cricket had been as a punishment in the late 1970’s. It was the January school holidays and my two older sisters, my younger brother and I had been fighting over what we were going to watch on television. Mum told us we should have been outside playing, but right or wrong we wanted to be indoors watching television. We just couldn’t agree on what we were going to watch!
Fed up with our arguing, mum decided it was time to inflict punishment. Instead of siding with one over the other and picking a fun kids program for us to watch she decided to punish us by making us watch cricket. For the next two hours we were forced to sit and watch cricket. Back then cricket was only show on the ABC government sponsored television station. This meant no advertisements. No advertisements meant no reprieve from the game – or the commentators.
At the end of the two hours, with the players going for a 20-minute tea break mum decided our punishment was over. She came in and told us we could go outside and play. My two older sisters didn’t need a second warning. No sooner were the words out of mum’s mouth than Cheryl and Irene were out the front door – just in case mum changed her mind. However, Fred and I sat where we were on the floor, eyes glued to the television set. Mum asked us what we thought we were doing. Fred and I both replied that we wanted to watch more cricket. Mum couldn’t believe it. Although she had meant watching cricket to be a punishment, Fred and I had actually enjoyed it.
That day started a lover affair with the game for both Fred and I. That love affair saw us both become cricket umpires at the end of 1981. It saw us volunteer to work at first class games held in our hometown. It saw us have many arguments over who was the best bowler, the best batsmen, even the best wicketkeeper!
This love affair came to a peak when we were finally able to visit the United Kingdom in June 1998. It was finally time to realise our dream and visit Lords – the home of cricket! Fred and I were able to get tickets for the first two days of the Lords’ test match. On day four we were sitting in Hyde Park listening to the game on the radio. While we listened we enjoyed a Teddy’s Bear picnic with cheese and vegemite sandwiches and coke. It was the first and only time we ever barracked for England. A friend had arranged tickets for us for day 5 and we desperately wanted England to hold on so we could get to day five. However, we were to be disappointed by England – not for the first or late time. They were unable to hang on and South Africa won the game just before stumps on day four. What a great result and a great memory.
While in the United Kingdom we were also able to realise another dream by visiting Glasgow, the birthplace of our paternal grandfather who passed away before we were born. Although we were unable to trace any of his family, we were just grateful to visit the city, and although there must have been many changes there since the day he left, we were able to walk around the city and wonder if he had ever walked that way.
My brother was killed in a hit and run shortly after leaving the United Kingdom, but that short holiday provided many great memories for me of shared experiences with my brother. It was a time I truly treasure.
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