Most sports writers will tell you that covering a sport changes their relationship with that sport. They see the sausage making, in other words, and the chinks in the armor, and the whole “factory” aspect that modern sport has become – and the journos become jaded, and it becomes a job.
And it is not just sports journalists either, Nick Hornby said that Fever Pitch forever changed his relationship with Arsenal and with Arsenal’s supporters – and not necessarily in a good way – and I think the same type of affliction affects us lowly bloggers, too.
Whenever I read about or watch cricket, I start to formulate blog posts in my head – and I bet all of us do. And it doesn’t even have to be cricket related. When I heard the news about Oscar Pistorius, for instance, I instantly started to think about ways in which I could relate his story to cricket, because he is South African and South Africa is a test nation .
Over the last few weeks, I have done nothing but obsess over Twitter feeds and World War One and this stat and that stat – what I missed along the way was why I am here all along: this beautiful and silly and remarkable old game that I simply love to watch.
Thankfully, as a reminder, down in Cape Town, there is a Test match going on.
Yesterday morning, when I tuned in to watch, I was able to enjoy the game as simply a fan, not as a blogger. I didn’t have story ideas rolling around in my head, I just had Dale Steyn steaming in over and over again, all under that huge expanse of African sky.
And today I was able to watch Pakistan spin their way through South Africa’s openers, take the day, and put the match and the series back in doubt – something we all said was impossible a week ago. A truly remarkable turnaround.
Ironically, not wanting to write about cricket reminded me why I write about cricket in the first place: I am a fan of the game. And unlike a lot of journalists, I was a fan first and a writer second, not vice versa. So I am able to remember that this is a magical and wonderful game that is quite simply a joy to behold when it is played at its highest level. That’s why I started this blog in the first place. And that’s why I will allow myself to forget all of this tomorrow so I can keep writing about it.