Saturday, 4 June 2011

An issue of Identity

Storm - boy or girl?
Fantasy Bob does not want to enter unecessarily into the world of gender politics.  He suspects that he cannot win in this wacky world.  But he noted reports that a Toronto couple are defending their decision to keep their infant's sex a secret in order to allow the child to develop his or her own gender identity.  FB does not understand how this is going to help Canadian cricket come back from its disappointing show in the recent CWC.
The child has been named Storm (which to FB's unreconstructed sexist mind seems a pretty masculine name so maybe the parents could have tried a bit harder) and even its grandparents do not know if it is a boy or a girl (assuming for the time being that these are the only valid categories).  Storm has 2 siblings.  Jazz, age 5, and Kio, 2.  These little Canadians are boys but they are encouraged to choose their own clothing and hairstyles and to challenge gender norms. Jazz wears his hair in long braids, likes purple and pink, and, according to their father, the boys are almost exclusively assumed to be girls.  (FB does not know whether this is said with pride, surprise or resignation).
Well, it takes all sorts.  In his experience of the lower leagues, FB has met many players who coming to join a side for the first time seem to have a similar problem of identity.  When asked whether they are a batter or a bowler FB has heard a huge range of responses.  Over the years, FB has had to deconstruct these answers and for the assistance of those who come after he offers this simple guide to these players and how to get the best out of them:
  • I bat a bit - this is the answer given by the player who barely knows which end of the bat to hold, who scored 50 ducks in a row, but now, based on his experience of scoring 1* in his last innings 3 years ago against a bowling attack of 7 year olds, believes he has Tendulkar-like qualities.  Tell him your team needs his stability in the bottom order and hope that you knock off the runs quick.
  • I'm more of a batter now -  the answer of the player who used to be regional opening bowler, was capable of 80mph plus but whose knees, hips, shoulders and brain have succumbed to a sad mix of arthritis, beer, and being dragged round IKEA every weekend.  Can only field at slip, and don't call him for a quick single.
  • A bit of both I guess - the answer of the player who has never played before and might even be Swedish.  Best left at deep fine leg.
  • Happy to do anything, skip - an ambiguous answer, it could come from a player who has reached a standard way beyond the team he has joined but who happens to be on holiday, secondment or is otherwise just passing through; or it could come from a player of similar ability to the above but of other than Scandinavian origin.  It is hard to know before the first ball is bowled.  Be safe not sorry - don't ask him to open.
  • Well neither really - usually a steady seam up bowler who has never bowled a wide - bowl him up the hill against the wind.
  • Been so long since I played I can't remember - don't be fooled by the buckles and mildew on the pads, this player is the real mccoy and will lash 50 off 40 balls.  Bat him high.

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