Man of the Match

There has always been a man of the match award in our T10 league. However, it’s always been a slight source of tension between my son and I, as I have tended to insist on some kind of pragmatic realism, whereas the boy tends towards picking whoever he wants to, regardless of logic. This poem is my waving of the white flag.

Man of the Match

Why should, why must there
be only one man of the match?
When I plead convention and
verisimilitude to a world where
the primary purpose of awards
is to provide a sponsor’s photo
op, the boy umpire shrugs.

We played a match, a minor classic
between the Prime Ministers XI
and The Great Composers,
a tense to the last ball, three run
triumph for the politicians,
even though David Cameron
fell flat for a first ball duck.
Clearly David Lloyd-George
was the man of the match.

In a tight contest, his furious
twenty seven from six balls
and bowling figures of two
for twenty four empirically,
statistically, and rationally
lead to the conclusion his
exertions were wot won it.
Is rewarding such efforts
not exactly what a man of
the match award is for?

The boy umpire said no.
He took the view that, in
defeat, Tchaikovsky and
Mozart must receive equal
billing with Lloyd-George,
because they both scored
seventy eight runs, and
more importantly, they made
the game close and fun.

Lloyd-George telephoned to
applaud the boy umpire for
his open handed liberalism.
If you listen to the starched
Victorian spinners shining a
legend on their trouser legs,
David’s tutors in how to play
up, play up and play the game,
they consistently maintain
that at the core of what is
known as ‘spirit of the game’
is a heart of generosity.

Who am I to argue against
that? Let trust work into play.
Let there be another chance
if things were not done in the
right way. Let there be room
for the benefit of the doubt.
Let there be cake dispatched
from four corners of the land.
Let there be three men of the
match, or women, or more; as
many as the truth can stand.

Simon Travers (c) 2014

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