Well, this girl is going to show off other people's talents.
For the last 4 years I have been coaching kwik cricket for my local club. I fell into it by accident when the previous coach moved on to follow his son to hardball cricket. My own son was a keen cricketer and my other half volunteered to take his coaching qualification and take over the team. Then he changed his job.
Rather than let anyone down, me being me - one of life's volunteers, I offered to take it on. After all being an overweight, nearly forty something, none cricketing women I had lots to offer! Time, enthusiasm and memories of watching my dad play when I was a little girl being my best qualifications. And, I have to say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have had an absolute ball for the last four years (and hope to continue to do so). Number one son (one and only son actually) has long since moved up to hardball cricket and has even played at district level this year. In the meantime I have seen a succession of kids grow and develop as cricketers and as sportsmen - and that includes several girls. This year, however, I have been overwhelmed.
I run, with the help of two volunteers - Susie and Bob, two teams of under ten year olds. One team has my more experienced players in it and the other team provides match experience for the newer players to the game. This year I've also had another team - the parents. I have always had the support of the player's parents but this year they have all gone 'above and beyond'. They have volunteered to score, to warm up the players whilst I'm organising the matches. They've umpired for me (believe me that's the hardest job) and they have actively encouraged both teams - regardless of who is playing. They even organised an end of season party for all the children. The team work and enthusiasm they have displayed on the side lines is an inspiration to all of the kids.
It also transpires that several of the parents have crafty talents of their own and it is these talents that I want to show you this week. At the end of the season I was treated very generously by several of the parents to gifts of chocolate, drinks, cake and even jewelry! The cake and the jewelry made even more special as they were the work of the some of the children and their parents themselves.
Firstly, I was presented with a huge box containing a fantastic work of culinary art:
And it tasted as good as it looked.
Secondly, I received a fantastic bracelet. It had been made by one of my cricketers and his dad. Dad has been scoring for me for several years and next year they will both be moving on to hardball cricket. Now, I do tend to get a little bit excited during matches, especially when my teams are doing well. Although I always try to be totally fair as an umpire (I'm not saying all my decisions are the right decisions but I make as many wrong ones against my own team as I do anyone elses) I have been known to lose track of how many balls have been bowled in all the excitement. Many is the time when I've stood in the middle of the pitch with a bemused expression uttering the plaintive cry of 'One to come scorer?'
Here is the scorers answer to my plight:
Now, those of you who know what I'm talking about, will note that - whilst there are only six balls in an over - there are eight pennies on the bracelet for me to count. Well, the scorer says that, in his experience, there are usually about two extras bowled in the over at this level so he's put me an extra couple on.
A lot of umpires have six pennies or stones in their hand and move them across as each ball is bowled. I can now do this myself and look stylish in the process.
I hope you have enjoyed the talents of my cricketers and their parents as much as I have.
Love Dawn x