Crusaders

When I started this blog over a year ago, I mostly worked on it during free time on weekends and I felt like it was progressing nicely. Just enjoying expressing my creativity in a different forum. In September I had the opportunity to pursue another hobby, cricket scoring. It did mean spending Sundays sitting on the side of a field hence why my blog went into a coma for the last eight months. Granted the last couple were just due to my own laziness as the season finished in April but I was adjusting to having so much free time that I floated for a bit.

So let us start off with a bit of back story:

I was introduced to linear scoring in 2012 and almost instantly felt like it was the perfect way to fuel my passion for the game.  I grasped the concept pretty easily and being around like minded people was so fulfilling.  Unfortunately I lost my way a bit as I started studying and working part-time and if I’m honest, I was lazy about pursuing it further.  But the idea always sat at the back of my mind and three years later I got my act together and decided to contact the KZN Union about doing another course. That night when I was doing a little Facebook scrolling, there was a post from the Union announcing they were going to be holding another course in the next month  – I mean, isn’t that a happy coincidence? Anyway, I went to the course and not much had changed and some of the instructors actually remembered me. They made me feel so welcome and encouraged me to come down to the stadium and practice during games which I did and loved every second of it. I did my exam in the July and ended up scoring for the KZN Coastal team at the under 17 week in December 2015.  I was so anxious going into that week as I had never officially scored a game live. My experience was either practicing in the press box at Kingsmead or scoring a game on the television which I could pause, rewind etc.  Needless to say my first game was a bit of a mess.  I knew what I was doing but the speed that I needed to do it was lacking and my mind was a bit all over the place.  I was also used to scoring on my own and it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to having to check with someone all the time.  Anyway I made it through the week and noted the areas that I needed to improve – it was most areas to be honest.  I was very lucky that the scorers for the opposition were really experienced and understanding and I am forever thankful to them for that.

I got my accreditation for Kingsmead in July 2016 but before I got too proud of myself, Cricket South Africa decided that all scorers need a minimum of two years experience at club level before they are able to score at domestic or international level.  I totally get the need for this but I had a moment of “Seriously?! Where am I supposed to suck that from at this stage?” Especially because I was not acquainted with the word of club cricket at all.  One of the other scorers mentioned a club that had been promoted to the Premier League (In my head: “There’s more than one league?”) and were looking for a full time scorer but I kind of dismissed the idea as I felt my anxieties started to build about having to deal with a group of strangers.  A few weeks later I got an email to say that Crusaders were looking for a scorer and even with my limited knowledge, I had heard of the club before.  A friend of mine used to score for them but he had become too busy with higher level fixtures that he would be unavailable to score for them for most of the season.   Said friend actually invited me to score a couple of Crusaders game during the previous season but I chickened out. Anyway, the anxiety was still there but I told myself to get over it and take the opportunity.

The first Sunday rolled around and I was nervous. Super nervous. I arrived early, as you should but I was definitely earlier than necessary, walked in and met the team and they seemed like a nice enough bunch.  We had two games that day and I was more prepared but I still wasn’t up to the pace that I should be and there was a rather lengthy delay while I summed everything up. But they were really nice about it (too nice) and invited me to join in on the fines meeting which was entertaining.   A few weeks went by and the nerves subsided, I arrived for the game, scored, stayed for fines and went home. It was nice and I was seeing the game from a new perspective as well as hanging around with a fun bunch people.

About a month later I met up with a friend for birthday drinks and while we were catching up I mentioned how I was enjoying my new hobby and the people I was meeting. She then asked me a question that threw me off a little bit. She asked if I would consider them my friends. I had to have a bit of a think about that one.  I realised that while I spent a whole day with these people they would be on the field and I only really socialised with them for an hour or so after the game.  That’s not the most conducive situation to foster friendships.  I am forever grateful to her for asking that question as it was then that I decided to make more of an effort to invest myself in the team and it has now become such a special element of my life.  Crusaders is truly like a family, they made me feel welcome from the beginning but the more time I spent with the guys and their WAGs I started to feel more and more part of the team. And through the season, I realised that I wouldn’t have had that experience with any other team in Durban so I’m pretty lucky the opportunity arose when it did.  As much as I love cricket and I think have improved in my scoring over the season (the boys will have to confirm this), it is the people that I have gotten to know along the way that has been the best part.  If you had told me a year ago that I would happily give up my seven months worth of Sundays to sit on the side of a field with eleven rambunctious men I would have probably given you major side eye.

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It was a fun season with the ups and downs of wins and losses but we came out on top and went on to be the KZN team at both the Momentum T20 Challenge and Momentum Club Championship held in Pretoria in April. I decided to tag along to both tournaments and each were their own unique experience.

I then got the happy surprise of being told that I was now a full member of our scoring union and could now score at domestic and international games.

I count myself very lucky and I am very proud to have been a part of the Crusaders Team for the 2016/17 season and am looking forward to next season if they’ll have me 😉

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