Thursday, 15 January 2015

A different world

It looks a bit like 1955, but the date is actually 1933

I suspect most of us have little family items that we treasure. One that is particularly close to my heart is this - a little, leather-bound booklet that is primarily a list of subscribers to a particular cause - and the opening pages show just what that cause was - my grandad.

He played cricket in the Lancashire leagues, and was the professional for a couple of teams, most notably this Penrith side. The position sounds quite glamorous (though the professional was very much the second class citizen among the amateurs), but was actually an act of desperation. The job didn't pay much, but it was better than nothing, and as a mill worker, laid off because of the depression, the alternatives were dire.

Even though he'd rather not have done it, my grandfather did look back on his sporting achievement with pride. And even though I have zero interest in sport, I can't help but feel a lump in my throat when I see this reminder of his achievement as well.

I never saw my grandad play, but I did quite often see him umpire, and when he went onto the pitch this unassuming, gentle man became something more, gained an unexpected authority. Cricket was very special to him.

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