OPINION

And so, an old love rises from the Ashes

Cricket season has started. This might not be news to you, but it is to me.

The only reason I know is because my parents are staying with us.

It hurtles me back to days long past where our sweating backs stuck to the vinyl chairs and happiness was my Dad pottering around downstairs in his Stubbies with his portable radio. In our later teenaged years, it was a portable TV.

I hated cricket. At least I hated playing it. My totally unco-ordinated hands never could make contact with that hard red ball. Why did it need to be so hard?

Once, when peering into the sky waiting for the ball to fall, it came to rest right in my left eye socket. That's when I decided it was unnecessarily hard.

On another occasion, our physical education teacher scoffed as I fumbled the ball. "You need to learn to catch," he called. That, I thought, was what I was there for.

Watching cricket, however, was another story. I loved it.

I loved the long, hot afternoons with icy-poles and all of us knowing better than the umpire. And Dad was the cricket king. He knew everything.

On some glorious, unthinkably stinking hot occasions, we went to the Gabba. Cricket mecca. We sat on those wooden planks and watched the yobs on The Hill and said hello to Happy Jack as he wombled past in his hat.

We would try and attract the attention of the closest fielders and mimic their various stretches.

Our Dad was friends with a player and our autograph books would return from the dressing rooms with well-known names scrawled across them. It was heaven.

Even on this week's visit, Dad and I have relived the day we watched the West Indies bat and Clive Lloyd hit an enormous six straight over our heads. Now that was a cricketer.

Somewhere along the way, between Allan Border and Steve Smith, I lost my connection with cricket. I'm not familiar with Twenty20, I wasn't invested in the sandpaper incident, and I never hung on Shane Warne's every tweet.

But, I said to Dad, maybe we should go back to the Gabba together.

It's different, he said. There's no Hill, no walking around, it's all business. The days of icy-poles and autographs are over.

Still, it's apparent that while the names change, our country's great love for cricket remains.

There's something about it. It unites us in our belief that we still know better than the umpire. Oh go on then, Dad, switch it on.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist