By Brian Hall
Friday 15 Jun 2012 19:55:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles



OK. On this wonderful summer morning, as I looked out at the rain belting down, I started thinking about how dodgy weather impacts on playing outdoor games. I keep hearing that the cricket is delayed, because of the wet stuff pouring down - or, even worse, bad light. Meanwhile, the tennis gets stopped in the Paris Open. The list can be endless. Outdoor bowling. A mate even told me about American Baseball, when they used to give out RainCheck vouchers, in case the match had to stop.


I am on the side of the sports that battle on, despite weather conditions.Take golfers, who who fight off the high winds, and rain as far as I gather, or even better, the Rugby League lot who actually seem to prefer to play in rain-sodden mud. Football can hold its own, too, fight off the lashing rain, but in recent decades, has let itself down a bit by not not getting out on the pitch if it is covered in a canny bit of snow.


 Now. To get to the point.  I have always believed that adults can learn so much from children, and sport is no exception, or at least it wasn't, before computer stuff started to entrap too many kids inside a house, instead of hoying them outside.Take our lot growing up in County Durham. It is safe to assert that NOWT stopped play, whether it involved heavy rain, snow, or hurricanes. OK, I exaggerate on the last one, just! 


Football, of course, ruled amongst the lads in that era. From January 1 to Dec 31 really. Anything that was hurled at the participants, from snow, sleet, hailstones, or very occasional intense heat, did not halt the 20 a side match. Obviously, strategy and tactics had to be altered, to suit the conditions. No use having the talented midfielder, as matter of course, chosen by the captain, as first pick, if his skills at destroying a defence with a cutting pass were worth little on a totally drenched pitch or snow-bound stadiim. No, that skilful destroyer with a flick of a ball was not automatic number one in such terrain. Rather, the very Big Lad who could just hoof anybody in sight, complete with ability to belt the ball out of gluey mud or hardened lumps of snow, tended to be picked first by the self-appointed team captains in such situations. 



In the County Durham summers as a bairn, and young teenager, other games did pop up briefly over the parapet, whilst never knocking footy off the map completely. Cricket, for example, used to make an appearance, complete with all the professional gear. Bin lid for the wicket, tennis ball for the bowler, and a borrowed bat from the posh lad in the estate. Even tennis made a brief appearance, during Wimbledon fortnight, again complete with latest equipment provided. Shabby rackets with holes in, not seen since the annual tournament on tv since the the previous year. Others belted down the Co-op, to buy a very, very cheap new bat, and all occupied, in huge numbers it has to be said, the local tennis court at the Wrek. Aye, we had one - a court that is - but it was not exactly up to the standards of its counterpart in South West London. The key, though, is any inclement weather had no chance of stopping either the cricket or the tennis. Dark light? Hoying it down? The stakes were too high for any retreat from the local competition.


Another event used to emerge, again, it has to be said, influenced by the telly. The local Olympics, due to some international athletic occasion. Improvised gear turned up, to say the least, and all events were covered. I am not sure if Health and Safety would have endorsed some of the games, looking back. The summer version was safer...ish............the winter version, complete with dishevelled bogies gannin down a bank, led to quite a few casualties, as did the skating slot. But again, the show had to go on. Even if natural cowards like me were not that keen to participate. I preferred footy in the rain, sleet, snow, and the occasional heatwave!


I have to confess, thought, that one sport was cancelled, not due to rain, but because of any snow. Marbles. Neebody was prepared to risk losing their marbles in such conditions. Basically, the marbles would not move! And the self-appointed local ref would simply call the game off, and all agreed.


So. Back to the main lesson from the kids, from that era, and the ones who still can get past their computer games where they never learn how to learn how to mingle in real life, and manage to get outside, to join the real world of fun and sport. Time for some adults to play sport, despite adverse conditions, from cricket to tennis all the way to baseball. It did us no harm. Sort of!





No mention of the lasses'  from that time. But I can stress that they were not that bothered about the weather either. They played Rounders, sorry American Baseball, and practiced for the Jazz Bands, come rain, hail, or shine. Mind you, that did lead to a temporary delay in the lads' games at that time. Distraction broke out, and players lost their focus, temporarily, I stress.



Keep ahaad and tarah. 

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