There are a lot more people taking advantage of free exercise these days. As a result our parks and pathways have seen a huge increase in their footfall. Walkers, joggers, power-walkers of all shapes and sizes can be seen taking advantage of exercise that is completely free. I prefer parks to pathways myself because invariably there’ll be a game of some kind going on that I can watch while taking a break from the walk.
Having decided to stop, the next step is vital. You must pick a suitable spectator, sidle up to them and ask; “so who’s winning mate?” It doesn’t matter the sport, it doesn’t even matter who is playing; it is all about one team winning and another losing. Well when I say any sport, it is true for 99.9% of sports. What’s the exception? Cricket
So why is there no point in asking who is winning a cricket match? Well in hockey, netball, rugby or tennis one player/side has more points than the other and is winning. In the 100m final one athlete is in front of the other and in the long jump one athlete jumps further than another and so can be said to be winning.
In cricket only one side can score points (runs in cricket) at a time. They take turns, so until both sides have had a go, no one can say definitively who is winning and who is losing. You can see if a team is doing well or better than expected but it’s pretty much irrelevant until both sides have had a go.
I spent today watching England v Australia in a cricket Test match. Play started at 11am and finished at half 6. I’ve seen every single minute and this is just the first day of five. Now in this post it doesn’t matter what the rules of cricket are, what matters is the commitment required to watch it. I understand why people are put off by cricket in the same way I wouldn’t watch a Grand Prix or the Tour de France from start to finish.
A Test match is slow and lumbering, hard to stick with and has long periods of nothing really happening. It can last five days and even then it could still be a draw! There are two other forms of international cricket. One-day matches are quicker with more action and excitement and go on for ‘only’ 7/8 hours and have a result at the end. Thirdly there are Twenty-Twenty matches. These are crash, bang, wallop affairs with live music that last about 3 hours but crucially also give a result.
For me Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is like Twenty-Twenty cricket. It came on quickly with very aggressive and obvious symptoms. Consequently it was checked out quickly, diagnosed and life-long medication prescribed. I knew the result very quickly and by using medication I’ve won.
Sleep apnoea was slightly different. I had felt fatigued and exhausted for many months before noticing it was a problem. I presumed I was just tired from a physical job and tried to cure it with sleep. Yet I still awoke un-refreshed and just as tired. No one thought of a sleep test for ages but eventually we decided it wouldn’t hurt. Sleep apnoea was a surprise but I was relieved to have a diagnosis and the right treatment with my CPAP machine. So, like a one-day match is longer than a Twenty-Twenty, it took longer than IBD to diagnose but with the right treatment I got a positive result and won.
Which brings us to the massive ‘Test Match’ that is fibromyalgia. The muscle pain, the fatigue, the blurred vision, the lack of concentration, the headaches and everything we all know so well. To continue my cricketing analogy, right now it feels like the morning of the second day of a five-day test match. We’re relatively early in the game and nobody is looking far enough into the future to see what the result will be.
So just like in cricket, it’s pointless to ask who is winning. I have good days and I have bad days and there are momentum swings in both directions. I would love to have the final say and beat fibro like I’m beating IBD and sleep apnoea but there’s also the possibility, that we will continue to battle back and forth for what feels like an eternity. And when the final ball is bowled on the equivalent of the 5th day of a Test match, will both myself and fibromyalgia be left with nothing to show but an unsatisfactory draw?
So enjoy your walks in the park but if you see me, or indeed a cricket match, please don’t ask ‘who is winning?’
PS: Congratulations to the happy couple on the birth of their first child this morning. As a good Australian girl I’m sure she’ll know not to ask ‘who is winning?’ at a cricket match.