My journey out of grumpiness and into a maximum

Watching Scotland beat England in a one-day cricket international was quite satisfying – partly because I feel a strong affinity to Scotland, despite my recalcitrant DNA, and partly because it wasn’t what I call cricket.

The bats are too heavy, and everything is weighted in favour of the batsman, who invent silly new strokes like reverse sweeps and overhead volleys.

The interesting thing about cricket is not hitting the ball hard and getting a “maximum”, which I believe is a six, though that clearly has too few syllables. If you want to hit the ball hard without finesse you can play baseball (or rounders, as I call it).

The interesting thing about cricket is the subtleties that bowlers can use to make the ball swerve, spin or swing. Very little of that is possible in one-day cricket, with its white ball and hard pitches.

Yes, I’m a grumpy old man. I look back with longing to those days when cricket and other sports were played by teams rather than groups, going forward was rather taken for granted, and “positive” was an adjective.

Now that we have reached the much-trumpeted soccer World Cup finals, we have the same sorts of problems, except that most teams seem to prefer negatives to positives, and more emphasis its placed on possession of the ball than on actually scoring. The thing about scoring is that you give away possession of the ball, by putting it in a precise area: the net. You know, the kind of thing that most teams never seem to practise.

Yes, I’m a grumpy old man. There is a group of us, though not a team. But is it worth listening to us? I quote from a scientific article: “Every generation tends to see society going to the dogs as standards of education, behaviour, speech and pretty much everything else decline. In fact, what many people see as decline is simply a move away from the norms they are accustomed to.”

Well, that could be true, but it depends on your general world view. If you think things are generally improving, it applies, and I should shut up. If you think things are gradually getting worse, then it doesn’t help. I do happen to think that. Scientifically, it’s called entropy. It’s happening to me, and it seems to be happening to the world generally.

However, as a Christian I have to take a more optimistic view of the universe, and of myself. Entropy may not be the end. I quote from a non-scientific article: “This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ ”

That’s more like it. I am no longer grumpy, going forward. I might almost say I’m positive.