I was at the cricket at Leeds on Friday. Yes we lost. It felt lonely to be a little South African in the midst of a swarm of very happy English supporters. My little flag was a miniscule speck of colour in a sea of navy and red.
They are very strict about those flags, has it always been this way? Only wave your flag when your team scores a 4 or something. Why? For health and safety reasons. Pardon?
Perhaps what this means is that if you wave your (oppositions) flag too much in the midst of a drunken home crowd you will get pounded. I wasn't going to test this theory however.
The crowd was hilarious. At no time did they pay any attention to the cricket. They played down downs, they sang songs, they built towers of beer cups, the police came, they removed the beer cups, the crowd would boo, a new tower would go up, the crowd would cheer, someone would get escorted out, booing again, a mexican wave would be attempted, would fail, more booing. Cups got thrown, more police, more booing etc etc. The poor players must have been so confused because the booing and cheering had nothing whatsoever to do with the state of the game. I had fun observing them and ignoring the fact that we were losing.
After being surrounded by pure Englishness all day, what did I hear ringing out into the night as I left the stadium?
"Jou ma se po- (you know the rest)."
Ah, the beautiful lilting refrain of a scorned mens van die Kaap.
You can't get more South African than that, even with added Mrs Ball's.