Junior Cricket……The parents are infinitely more interesting than the game itself, which seems to consist of twenty- two boys in helmets, white pants and polo shirts standing on a field slogging a ball around, and running up and down in giant leg nappies with elastic straps along a thin strip of grass shouting, “Yes” and “No” to each other, peppered with bloodcurdling “I’m being murdered in my bed,” screams lifted straight from Game of Thrones.
The only thing enabling me to identify my own spawn and step-spawn far, far away in the sea of white is their characteristic stance, the trademark “I left my bum behind” Lucas duck pose.
The very fact that cricket consists of nothing, very little and even less, happening for hours, then something major goes wrong and it’s all over for someone, makes the crowd all the more interesting to observe so I present to you:
The Sara Lucas howzat guide to dad cricket behaviour
Nervous Dad: Most often found pacing around the boundary muttering to himself and making mental bullet points of cricket practice drills to be had out later today. He will always have an in-depth analysis of every.single.shot to be replayed minute-by-minute later in the day. Usually over family dinner, when the kids are so tired after standing in the searing heat all day they’re ready to faceplant their nachos.
Shouty Dad: Clearly hasn’t been for a run himself yet this morning because he keeps shouting “run, run, run” to the boys in bat. Usually this strategy ends badly because boys and young men typically take a while to process important information. The more important the longer it takes, so by the time they’ve processed the call and started running, it’s too late. Dad often can’t see the ball flight nearly as well as Son from where he’s standing either, so there you have a strategy flawed from outset.
Quiet and friendly Dad: Says nothing much beyond chatty stuff. Often goes to get coffee for everyone. May not get noticed at all if it weren’t for the coffee, but he is indeed a vital part of the machinery of cooperation.
Coachy Dad: Bounces around with the boys being ‘encouraging,’ and letting them work it out for themselves. His is generally understood by the boys to be the most effective approach, although not nearly as technically correct as Nervous Dad who could share th teamwork by imparting the technical basics with which to be encouraged by Coachy Dad.
Umpire Dad: Most likely a cricket veteran, probably has older boys. Worked out years ago that the best seat in the house is at the wicket (the bit behind where the batsmen stand). Went off to do a course in cricket rules in the past, likes waving hands around at 180 degrees, pointing fingers slowly to the sky, and wearing two to three hats with random sunglasses models perched on top.
Scorer Dad: Frustrated actuary. Possesses the rare ability to concentrate for up to six hours in the blazing sun with only an umbrella for shade. Smart money has figured out the iPad is the tool to use, but diehards can still be found wrestling an enormous official issue A3 Cricket scorebook and licking a stubby pencil into blunt submission.
Whatever style of cricket Dad you are, most importantly, you’re there supporting your young son, and whilst which he may neither remember nor appreciate immediately, it will make for good reminiscences over geriatric soggy cabbage in later life.
Good on ya.