No 45: Disappointment!

This was suggested by one of our other contributors after yet another defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory by an ever more flummoxed [currently] England team. Disappointment is the default mode of most cricket fans, even if you are currently on a high, you just know that sometime, probably soon and certainly well before later, your team is going to disappoint you. You fully understand that a single dropped catch can lead to total meltdown, even within the best teams and before you know it, those celebratory drinks in the pub are more of a wake for what might have been. You have a firm grasp on the laws of cricket sod, can appreciate every nuance of a bad bowling spell just when you needed your most reliable ball chucker to dig you out of a hole; of a golden duck when a 50 is normally easily knocked off by your No3. Whether it’s a Sunday afternoon knockabout or an International fixture, regardless of whether you are urging on South Africa or the South Ambleside 2nd XI [a club entirely of my own invention for literary purposes] matters not, the safest place to view it all from is the boundary of disappointment.

So why I hear you mumble, through the mouthful of bile you are spitting at the latest defeat, is this possibly a cricket Love? There are two reasons, let me explain…

The first is the more obvious, possibly even clichéd, but no less valid for that – it’s because the disappointment makes the good times feel even better. Take a look at the photo below and witness if you will, the unbridled joy at an unexpected win near the end of a pretty unremarkable, nay, ‘disappointing’ season for Somerset in 2013. It was the end of August and before this LVCC match, they had only 1 championship win to their name before coming to face a Middlesex team that had out performed even the hopes of the most optimistic pundits. The Somerset lot had the best remedy for default disappointment available, whilst the Middlesex lot had that all too familiar bitter taste back in their mouths.

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The second reason is slightly more abstract but I defy any fan to argue against it – because secretly, deep down, probably hidden in a dark festering corner, we love it! We revel in cricketing disappointment, it gives us myriad excuses to lay bare the reason for the disappointment, to dissect, to cogitate over, to offer our own opinions on what should have been done, or what shall be done in the future. To demonstrate this, witness if you will the column inches and blog posts given over to ‘analysis’ when disappointment levels ratchet up. Count up the number of articles questioning decisions, actions, outcomes and alternatives. They are many, varied and always far more copious than in victory. Oh, and don’t for one minute think this is merely the media filling space, a few hours on twitter after a win and then a loss will set you right on that score. After a win, people will hang around for a brief while expounding their teams various virtues before heading off to their own lives with a self satisfied smile on their face, disappointment temporarily gone [but never forgotten, that would be just too stupid to contemplate] If a defeat was the outcome, the post-mortems can go on for hour after hour, debates will rage about what went wrong, individual players will be torn apart for the smallest error. Now OK, I am stating this from an ‘English’ perspective and as a nation, we are given to being naturally pessimistic [probably weather related] but from what little I have a seen, I have a sneaky suspicion this is not only an English affliction, I suspect this is a cricket affliction, regardless of the colours you wear on your replica kit. We are all cricket fans, and we all come to the conclusion eventually that disappointment is the optimum mood to adopt, because it’s part of what makes cricket what it is.

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