Junior cricket would be nothing without the parents. Here are the classic tropes you’ll encounter at your local club on a Sunday morning.
THE PUSHY DAD
He was rubbish when he played, so he’s living vicariously through his children. He’s the type of guy to try and butter-up the coach at county trials and will be straight on the phone if his child isn’t selected. He doesn’t give goodnight kisses, he gives throw-downs. He doesn’t read bedtime stories, he reads Wisden. His daughter is only five but he’s already tipped her to be the next Katherine Brunt. He keeps trying to work on her bowling action but all she wants to do is watch Frozen and do cartwheels on the lawn. Homework can wait; he’s got his son in the garden practising his yorkers every day after school. The poor lad gets a new bat and gloves every Christmas but all he really wants is a bike and a summer holiday.
THE TEA LADY
The wife of Pushy D. Match day wouldn’t be the same without her. She’s made more bacon sandwiches than she’s seen deliveries bowled this season and does it all out of the goodness of her own heart. “Oh, I don’t mind. I enjoy it,” she insists when asked if she’d prefer to be outside watching her son bat rather than preparing refreshments for the spectators. She’s never made a bad cup of tea in her life and her ungrateful husband doesn’t deserve her.
THE FATHER OF DISAPPOINTMENT
He was a gun batsman in his day but cricketing prowess doesn’t run in the family. He takes it personally every time his son fails with the bat. He once called his boy “a disgrace to the family” and nobody could tell if he was joking or not. The kind of bloke who got way too emotionally invested in Euro 2016. Vardy on the bench? He’s fuming, mate. Kane taking corners? Don’t get him started. He’s still angry that the local Blockbuster Video closed down and doesn’t get why you can’t order from your table at Nando’s. He voted leave after the Polish woman at the Shell garage questioned why a grown man was buying five packs of Panini football stickers on a Friday night. “They’re for my 12-year-old,” he lied. To be fair, he hasn’t been the same since his wife left. He needs to get back out there but he doesn’t understand Tinder and spent the majority of his last date talking about his son’s vulnerability to the short ball.
THE NERVOUS WATCHER
She’s a nervous wreck and can’t stand still for more than 30 seconds. She does more laps than an F1 driver and plays every ball as if she’s out in the middle herself. She watched Jimmy and Monty bat out for the draw against the Aussies in Cardiff from behind the sofa and has such a nervous disposition that her doctor has banned her, again, from watching Game of Thrones. The poor lady was so anxious ahead of her club’s under 13 cup final that she was physically sick on the bus to the ground. Her son wasn’t even playing.
THE BIASED UMPIRE
He’s got a trigger finger like John Wayne and is a firm believer in DRS – Dad’s Review System. He’s more corrupt than FIFA and would sooner die than give his kids out lbw. This guy has ruined many a junior cricketer’s day but honestly couldn’t care less. He makes Kim Jong-un seem like a paragon of virtue. He makes Robert Mugabe’s politics seem moderate. He’s the human embodiment of that time when U2 stuck their album on everyone’s iTunes; nobody asked him to umpire, it just happened.