6 years ago I moved into a flat that overlooked the local cricket club. Having always been a sports fan, I watched with interest from my window, hoping to see some interesting games of cricket. It turned out to be much more than that.
I love how a view can come to represent one's take on the world. I've found it a way to feel grounded, balanced and to belong, I think. I now look forward to opening my blinds in the morning and watching the seasons unfold on the beautiful and lovingly maintained green. The groundsman is so happy at work he has often started by 07.30 in the morning. It seems an honest and rewarding job and I'm sure it's as wonderful to do as it is to watch. Word is, our ground is one of the best in the league and I like that his hard work doesn't go unnoticed.
It's easy to see why I fell in love with this view. Let me explain why I fell in love with the club.
Ofcourse, all sports clubs worth their salt will do what they can to encourage young participation. I'm sure this happens the length and breadth of the country, but every Wednesday night during the season, some 50 or so kids are introduced to the wonder of cricket, team sports, giving of their best and having fun.
You would think that waiting your turn to bat or bowl would be a drag but these kids jump up and down, do cartwheels and shriek with excitement as they wait in line. I work with children and I'm a parent so I recognise what's happening when these keen as mustard kids place themselves in the care of the club's players and coaches - pure unbridled happiness.
And that's before I've even watched any serious cricket. The other week I invited chums to watch the first XI, whilst picnicking and enjoying the sun. Forgive the pun, but they were bowled over. "I wish I'd know about this years ago" was the unified reply when I asked if they had enjoyed their day.
Gosh, aren't the Ashes and test cricket exciting, but there is much to recommend local cricket. Indeed, there is much to recommend local sport of any kind. Just the other night, I looked out of my window to see 50 or so kids throwing and catching with glee, two old athletes jogging around the perimeter, someone walking their dog, the first XI practising at the nets and a local band making their way to the clubhouse for a rehearsal. It's not just about the cricket. I believe this club is the beating heart of my community and I feel extremely lucky to be part of it.
If you're lucky enough to have a club like this on your doorstep - cricket or not - take my advice. Nurture it, support it, spend your money on it. I promise it will make you and your community very happy indeed.
I have come to love cricket. Simple and yet complicated, beautiful, graceful and full of tradition. Just what a sport should be.
Cricket even has it's own band, whose complete repertoire is devoted to the love of the beautiful game.