When you mention ‘The Box’ to many, they may immediately think about television. But not to a cricketer. Now I know many of my readers aren’t familiar with cricket, so I won’t go into the complexity of the Laws of Cricket or any of the many customs that go a long with it. What I would like to tell you about is the stages of life that a cricketer’s most cherished possession, his box, goes through as the years pass.
Firstly you need to understand that when batting in cricket, there is a bowler who is hurling 5.5 ounces of extremely hard material encased in shiny red leather at nearly one hundred miles per hour from a distance of roughly 17-18 yards, depending on the bowler’s height and stride. But needless to say, it is only a split second before this hard red ball is upon you and if it happens to hit any part of your unprotected body, it hurts like hell and induces an immediate yellowish, bluish, reddish, purplish bruise that takes weeks to fade.
If you’re familiar with baseball and have been hit by one, I can tell you it is only about 10% as painful as being hit by a cricket ball.
Now, back to the box. It is the most important item because it is designed specifically to protect the most important parts of a cricketer’s body. His Crown Jewels! Even with the rugged construction and energy absorbing properties of a a box, I can tell you, if you get hit ‘there’, even while wearing one, your eyes still tear up, your stomach feels like it is being strained out through your nostrils and you instantly believe your chances of ever being a father just disappeared.
So, when young and virile, a young cricketer never ever goes out to bat without his beloved box. As he ages, well, if just once he forgets, it’s not so bad because experience can get him through undamaged to the next break in play to re-equip. Then coming close to the end of his playing days in the gentlemen’s league, oh well, the bowlers are getting on too so no panic if he forgets.
Then comes retirement and all the kit is put in the garage and forgotten. Until enough years pass and a garage clean-up is in order. It is at this precise moment that ‘the box’, long forgotten and covered in dust, finds a new lease of life and re-enters an old cricketer’s latter years being useful again.
Sitting proudly on the sideboard as an ideal container for his coins.