Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Miscellany: Odds, Ends, Personals

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Possibly in response to Brett Lee's announcement of his pending retirement, Byter Charles D sent me an email:

I was lucky that I was in Sri Lanka 4 years ago. Went to the cricket grounds to witness the match between Australia and Sri Lanka. Took quite a few shots with my camera. Four shots of Brett Lee coming in to bowl.The match was a washout. It rained two hours after the match began.  
Went on a safari drive and saw this Owl on a branch of a tree.

I'm not sure if the Brett Lee shots and the owl are connected in some way, or if Charles is telling me that he photographed the owl after leaving the washed out cricket match, but here are Charles's pics:

Charles went one further with his cricket, sending me a further email:

It is the cricket season. One Day International World Cup at our door step.  As you would know and appreciate, we ex Sri Lankans are cricket fanatics.  As a young man in Sri Lanka during my school days, I was introduced to the following poem on cricket by my English Teacher. I think, I must have been about 14 years at that time.  Could not remember all the words but the sentences “A bumping pitch and a blinding light,” and “'Play up ! play up ! and play the game” will always be in my memory. Hence, I googled and found the poem.  Inclusion in Bytes during the cricket season if you think it is appropriate.

The poem to which Charles is referring  is Vitaii Lampada by Henry Newboldt. The title comes from a quotation by Lucretius and means "torch of life".

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind—
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

Like Charles I remember the poem from my primary school days but unlike Charles, I am not at all a devotee of the willow.  One may agree with the Duke of Wellington that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton (no correspondence on whether he said it or in what terms), or with Philip Adams' argument that cricket is a deeply Christian game, the 3 stumps representing the Holy Trinity and the red ball bowled at them being symbolic of the Devil.  I tend to agree, however, with the observation of the late Robin Williams that cricket is baseball on valium.  For me it is the equivalent of the proverbial watching of paint dry or grass grow.

Nontheless I offer the following item for your entertainment. constant reader.

I have previously posted great cricket sledges, comments and moments.  Here is one of them:

The following has been ascribed to an exchange between Viv Richards and various other players, including Merv Hughes, Geoff Lawson and Greg Thomas. 
Whoever it was (and the most likely person appears to be the English county bowler George Thomas, playing for England), the bowler had bowled a few that Richards had swung at but missed. The bowler said "It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering." 
On the next delivery Richards hit the ball out of the ground into a nearby river, saying to the bowler “You know what it looks like, now go and fetch it.”

Read the others at:

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