I am not really one for using sport as analogy for life. It seems to me to over value sport and trivialise life. However, I am now going to do exactly that because for all things there is an exception.
I am a lover of cricket. Many of my friends do not get it. They talk about it as like watching grass grow, or paint dry. I have tried to explain the subtle interplay between intellect and skill, the constant procession of events at each curl of leather, the mind games, the simple absorption of all worries in the single moment- but to be honest I am wasting my breath. We can not be convinced of what we will not see.
But whatever your views on cricket- stick with me for the analogy…
Last night a test series finished between New Zealand and England- three test matches, each lasting 5 days, both sides batted twice. All three matches ended in a draw, and so the series was drawn. 15 days of play, some interupted by bad weather, but at the end of it all- no winners, no loosers- just a draw.
But what a glorious draw.
An unfancied, unfashionable side (NZ) takes on one of the big boys (England) and by strength of will, team spirit, luck and skill, give as good as they get in an ebbing and flowing contest. Finally, England are on the ropes, reliant on players to hang on by the skin of their teeth, fighting against their own instincts as well as everything that the NZers can throw at them. In the end, it came down to Englands last player, the hapless Monty Panessar, against the premier fast bowler giving it one last burst. After the last ball was bowled, opponents collapsed into each others arms- it was magnificent.
But it was not quick, it was not easy, it was not instant. It is hard to sum up in soundbite, or display in the form of shortened highlights.
Which kind of does work as some kind of analogy for life.
It is possible to live as if the only thing that is important is the instant, the mountain top, the victorious advance. However, real life is not lived at the exultant pinnacle. Rather it is a consequence of the long faithful movement in a shared direction.
The older we get, the more we come to understand that speed is less important than depth. This is one of the reasons I love cricket.
And at the end of it all, I will be grateful if I achieve an honourable draw…
Right now, need more sleep.