An overzealous steward deflates the beach ball, puncturing the crowd’s buoyant mood #joblogs

I’m on a bus surrounded by bare-chested men wearing Santa hats so figure I’m heading in the right direction for the Sydney Cricket Ground. Finding it nigh on impossible to locate my seat in the stadium – made more difficult by seeking help from the stewards – I plonk myself in a single seat at the end of a row and hope it is not reclaimed by its rightful owner. Surreptitiously, I glance round to see with whom I’ll be spending the next five hours or so.

On my right an amorous couple have presumably taken out a small loan to pay for the stack of insanely expensive stadium food that surrounds them. Directly in front sit two multi-coloured Afros with people attached. On four runs, the Afros rise, an arm extends and proceeds to ebb and flow from left to right in perfect unison. Pretty harmless neighbours so far, considering I could have been sat next to the canary-yellow-budgie-smuggling-catsuit guy.

Further down the stand a bunch of New Zealand fans are inexplicably wearing surgeons operating gowns, hat included – all very amusing when en masse, yet heading off to the gents solo they look a shade embarrassed.

The wheezing sighs of a bagpipe indicate the match’s unofficial entertainment is up and running. The many, many, renditions of I’m an Australian sound distinctly odd accompanied by bagpipes but the more beer sodden people become, the more they join in. At times the pipe player strikes up Jingle Bells and a cacophony of inebriated cricket fans belt out the well known Christmas jingle. Even the pie-eating beer guzzler behind me taps his foot and slaps his considerable thigh in time to the music.

A middle-aged Irish guy, in all innocence, tells an inebriated Ozzie that this is his first cricket match. The Ozzie proceeds to explain cricket from its early beginnings through to the present day, for the next five hours. Without pausing for breath. After a while the drone of chatter becomes a soothing accompaniment to the match.

Meanwhile, Kyle Mills (or Millsy as the crowd affectionately yell at him) the Kiwi outfielder gets involved in some inflatable beach ball action during a lull in play, volleying the ball back into the crowd to huge cheers. An overzealous steward nabs, stabs and deflates the ball, puncturing the crowd’s buoyant mood and prompting catcalls and jeers. Millsy quickly turns back to the matter in hand on the field.

A kafuffle erupts at the opposite side of the ground. Suddenly, a five-metre long plastic beer-cup snake arises on a sea of hands. Twenty minutes later, and not to be outdone, my side produce a similar length snake but it’s not long before resigned applause rings out from my fellow snake makers when they realise they’ve been well and truly stuffed by the eight-metre snake that arises from the opposition.

Finally, an energetic Mexican wave starts up culminating in plastic bottles, ticker tape and the aforementioned beer cups being hurled up on the crest of the wave and then raining down like sea spray as the wave ripples round the ground.

Meanwhile, the world’s best cricket team are slugging it out on the pitch against their arch rivals.

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