The other day during the Melbourne Test, Keith Stackpole and....ummm....the other guy - Glen Mitchell perhaps - were discussing which radio commentators they knew who'd been at Steve Waugh's first test and were going to see his last test. It turned out they didn't know anyone.
Then they started wondering just how many people in general might see both. They assumed someone would - Richie, Bull, various Channel Nine teamsters. Assorted ACB/Cricket Australia buffers. Even the odd fan.
I didn't think much of it at first. It didn't seem too big a deal, there are plenty of people involved in the Strayan cricket industry, and there are plenty of hard core cricket fans too.
Then the more I thought about it - with Waugh's first being in Melbourne and his last in Sydney - the less likely it seemed many fans would see both.
Today at the SCG - I don't think I've mentioned I'm in Sydney for the holidays - I was discussing the Waugh first & last thing with my mates in Bay 14. Most of them are originally from Melbourne and they all said they didn't know anyone who'd seen the first and was at the last.
Then it occurred to me, I did know someone who'd seen his first test, and was also there at the SCG for his last test. That person's often referred to by application of the perpendicular pronoun, me....err....I.
Oddly I don't remember anything about Waugh's first test performance.
I think Greg Matthews made a ton. Alan Border made a typically defiant century in the second innings. I remember David Hookes getting out and wondering why, after his centenary test debut, he never seemed to get a decent score. I also remember my relief when rain washed out the last session on day five with India a couple wickets down and needing about a hundred to win.
I also remember ripping my jeans on a seat in the Northern Stand, then after meeting a friend in the carpark at lunch, not being allowed back in. Only some smooth talking saw me past the MCC blue-coated gate-nazi.
Back then I went to the cricket every chance I got, for instance every day of the Centenary Test.
Today - even though I live across the road from the MCG - I hardly ever go. Maybe one day a year, but I haven't been since day one of the Sydney test Australia v Windies in 2001. I'm just not that enthusiastic any more. I love cricket, I just don't go.
I know why.
1) Ticket entry cost $25.00.
2) Food and drink costs a fortune. One bottle of water and one plain - very plain - hotdog cost $7.20.
3) Taxi there and back cost $20.00.
4) There are PA advertisements between overs.
5) "Professional Australian" John Williamson sang at the lunch break. Hey True Blue. I hate John Williamson.
6) There was a Best Fan "talent" quest at the tea break. Under the sun, a very Red Faces. The crowd gave by far the biggest cheer to a guy fully - and convincingly - kitted up as the Pope. The announcer - sounding suspiciously like a MMM rocky jockey jingo lingo dickhead on a promise - gave it to a piece of cheesecake dressed in a flag and who dickhead dubbed Flag Girl. Rort.
7) Half an hour in the crowd fired up the Meskin Wave. Siddown, simpletons!
8) At home, the food and drink situation's in the next room. The toilet's beside that. At the game it's a five minute walk. To the end of a long cue.
9) My lounge chair is more comfortable than the moulded plastic affair at the game. As for leg room.
10) Watching the game on Channel 9 gives you a better look at what's going on than when you're in a crowd a hundred metres away. Listening to the radio makes it better. Having sport to watch on other channels - for the slack periods - better still.
11) Being surrounded by drunks is no fun when you're not on the gas. I think I was the only person there watching the game.
12) The day's play was dull.
There was an upside though. No advertisments for jelly filled Black and Decker drills. What a stupid concept. If it was a good drill it wouldn't need a coloured bubble on top. No self respecting tradesman ever uses B&D.
Fortunately, tomorrow's a sell-out so there'll be no tea break intro: "Welcome Sydney viewers." I'll be able to watch the whole day's play in the comfort of my own loungeroom. There'll be loads of cheap snacky treats and plenty of skillful remote control action. Wack wack wack a doo. Ohhh, what a feeling.