Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Analyst II - This Time It's Personal

I've been in Harrogate today where I was given a lovely warm welcome by Pannal School. A big hi to everybody there.

My story-writing session with Years 5 and 6 started like any other, but quickly took some unique twists. In the end I found myself drawing many, many killer chickens and a few psycho bananas. Obviously all very scary for me, what with my banana-phobia (I think it's technically called nanaphobia).

Despite the terrors of what a banana can do when it grows a head, some teeth and an appetite for human brains, it was a really fun day.

Then on the train home I crossed paths with a mini-idol of mine. Not a full blown idol. We're not talking Charlie Chaplin or Oscar Peterson here, but it was still a special moment: Simon Hughes. Yes, that Simon Hughes. (Many, many of you are now understandably saying, 'What Simon Hughes?')

Simon Hughes is 'The Analyst' on the Channel 5 cricket highlights show, as well as being on the regular commentary team. But that's not why I remember him as a mini-idol. Oh no. I remember Simon Hughes for the final over of the Natwest Trophy Final, 1989. He bowled the final over for Middlesex against Warwickshire.

Warwicks needed 10 to win.

Neil Smith hit a huge, straight six in the middle of the over which secured the game and won the trophy.

I was at Lord's that day to see the final. In that moment, I felt Simon Hughes' pain. I can still remember the look on his face as he swivelled to watch the ball whistling past him.

It's OK, Simon Hughes, (I want to go back and tell him now). Your moment will come. You may not win the Natwest Trophy, but one day, far off in the future, you will prevail. You will become The Analyst.

And that is greatness.

Today, I told him none of this, though I wanted to. I simply smiled. He smiled back. I poured myself another cup of Oolong and reminisced about that thrilling cup final way back in the eighties.

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