I do love a Sporting Hero!
Wait a minute, I hear you say. Is it not Mr B who is the sporting fanatic? Am I not, by comparison,
known for my inability to throw, catch, bowl or bat making me to sport what Mary Berry is to ready meals?
Both of which are, indeed, accurate - but they don’t
tell the whole story. You see, I believe in being prepared to accept and embrace another’s passions if only in a bid for greater understanding. So while you won’t find me watching every single day of the Open Golf Championship, or endless replays
of Saturday’s footie matches on Match of the Day or the Sunday morning round-up, I am nevertheless as able as anyone to be caught up in an afternoon of Heroic Sporting Endeavour. Step forward, Ben Stokes who smashed the England cricket team to success
in the Ashes Test at Edgbaston yesterday afternoon. As I told Mr B, it was Mission Impossible - but fortunately nobody had told Mr Stokes that.
I was especially
drawn to bespectacled Jack Leach, holding out so bravely at the other end of the pitch as Big Ben stormed to victory almost single handed. Jack and I obviously share the same name but it was the way he had to keep removing his glasses to clean them, misting
up as they did in the heat of the day. That would have been me, too, in the same situation. Not that I would ever, ever be in the same situation, you understand, being a Wimp Of The First Order. There is no way you would ever catch me facing up to the Aussie
bowlers, knowing that one false move from me and my team would topple to defeat.
Many years ago, it happened that only Our Boy was left at home with Mr B
and me at the time of the 1990 Football World Cup - it was an unusual feeling for me to be outnumbered, having been accustomed to a ratio of four to two before the three Darling Daughters left the home nest. Knowing from experience that my days and nights
would be Football Crazy for ever so many weeks, I had a choice - like it or lump it. I thereupon decided to be an Ace Football Fan for the duration, even to the extent of creating a Heroes Board on which any footballer who excelled himself might earn a place.
To be honest, he didn’t even have to score - or save - an amazing goal to make it onto the board; sometimes it was enough to sport (if you will excuse the pun) a daringly different hair style to be awarded a place on the Heroes Board. Mr B was
always incensed when I accorded Heroic Status to players who were from other countries, especially if their teams had the temerity to beat our team. I was unrepentant - you are either a hero or you aren’t.
Mr B and our son found my passionate approach to All Things World Cup so infuriating that they nearly left home. Taking the TV set with them, of course.
Yesterday’s Test Match heroics warranted entry on a Heroes Board, had I but thought to create one. But I only sat down for a breather in between household tasks - then found myself unable to shift from my armchair. I
am guessing I wasn’t the only one.
Joffra Archer, Ben Stokes - you are both on my virtual Heroes Board. As is, of course, one Jack Leach who did, without
doubt, play a vital part in England’s victory.
Obviously, the criteria for inclusion on my Heroes Board being what it is, he would have earned his place
anyway - for being prepared to make a spectacle of himself...