Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A wreck - but on a high

I'm a total wreck today, but on an emotional high that's surging adrenaline through my veins and bringing renewed vigour to even the most mundane tasks.
Physically, I'm still suffering the effects of a recent stomach bug, and every meal's currently a case of Russian roulette. But slowly I'm improving. The swelling's finally gone down on my cracked knuckle, though it's still tender to the touch and still hampering my already lousy typing. And to cap things off, I've got a stubborn summer cold that has glued up one ear ever since I flew to Scotland 10 days ago. So at the moment I'm a particularly unappetising prospect.

But I've finally settled into the rhythm on my current editing/rewriting project and what looked like a train crash of good intentions and questionable process is slowly coming together as useful and usable intranet content. I now have one contact to deal with rather than a deluge of conflicting information from many, and we're groping towards a way of working that suits us both.
A couple of other pieces of work have come my way this week including, deliciously, some scripting on a video covering the internal problems the company is having paying suppliers. The irony is that it's for the company that always pays me late and, having taken on the writing at the 13th hour, I've knocked out the job without a purchase order!
So what's given me the new energy? It's probably the cloud I've been riding on ever since about 8.35pm yesterday when Middlesex CCC defeated Lancashire to reach finals day of cricket's Twenty20 Cup.
I've supported 'the Middle' for over 30 years - having first made my way to Lord's at the age of 12 to watch the likes of Gatting, Brearley, Daniel and Edmonds. For the first decade of my love affair with the club, they could do no wrong, regularly picking up trophies. But for the past 20 years, the cupboard's been pretty bare, and I've got used to season on season of underachievement.
But something's changing at St. John's Wood, and a new breed is emerging: talented players who've got the appetite for winning and don't realise when they're beaten.
At about 6pm last evening, in the unfamiliar surroundings of The Oval, Middlesex were 21-4. Lancashire were rampant having ripped the heart from Middlesex's batting. An hour or so later, 'Sex left the field 176-8. Moments before, Dawid Malan had departed for 103, scored at almost two runs a ball. He'd lashed the Lancs bowlers all around the field, turning near disaster into hope.
That hope turned to joy about 90 minutes later when Tyron Henderson splattered Dominic Cork's stumps all over the square and Middlesex were heading to finals day for the first time since 20/20 began in 2003.
Malan was immense, but so was Middlesex as a team. In 32 years of supporting my home County, I've never been so proud. It was one of those perfect games of cricket. I wanted Middlesex to win and they duly did having put my heart through a blender first. I wanted Lancashire's talisman, Andrew Flintoff to do well - and he did with 50-odd runs and three wickets. And, in this gloomy summer, I wanted the sun to shine - and even that fell into place.
Surrey members had been let into the match free, and there was one in particular in the lower tier of the pavilion where I was seated who moaned about Middlesex and declaimed loudly how inferior they were to his side throughout the evening. Even he had to swallow a large helping of humble pie by the end (and Surrey are precisely where this season, sir?)

I grew up on the exploits of Slack, Butcher, Barlow, Radley and the spin twins, Edmonds and Emburey. Now the likes of Godleman, Joyce, Morgan, Malan, Finn, Murtagh and the rest may just be propelling Middlesex back to cricket's high ground.

They've won nothing yet, but they've put me on a high today, despite the rain, my lack of sleep and the mountain of editing I've still to do.

Sometimes inspiration comes from most unexpected sources.

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