Monday, December 26, 2005

MCG Luv

I've watched a few tests at the 'G over the years. First, Boxing Day 2001, Australia-RSA: we (Vincent and I) left the ground after suffering one interruption after another on a cold, windswept day. We went to a pub and watched the rest of the game while playing pool. Then Australia-England, 2002 Ashes: thanks to the construction affecting the availability of some 20,000 seats, we couldn't get in on Boxing Day and landed up going on a desultory stroll that brought us to the Rose Hotel where we watched the rest of the day's play. I attended another couple of days including the final day as everyone was let in for free and Australia struggled to bring the match to a close. Then Australia-India, Boxing Day 2003 (besides the second and fourth days play), where I saw Sehwag score his 195, and the collapse that cost India the test.

The G's location, in the heart of the city, means that the approach to the ground is very urban. You get to the City Center and then take a tram, or drive to one of the surrounding neighborhoods and walk through the parks. The train stations, bus stands, and all the assorted trappings of urban public transportation remind you of where you are. Perhaps the ground is too big, too much of a behemoth to be truly charming, but its positioning in Aussie sports history is unmistakeable.

If you want to make the 'G a bit more magical for yourself, you'd do well to watch an Aussie Rules game and go down to the turf after the game for the post-game ball tossing that breaks out. The parks that surround the 'G make possible to a truly relaxed lunch break, as you sneak out, break out a sandwich, and then have a beer at one of the pubs across the street before strolling back in. Inside the G, the cavernous stands cry out for exploration; idiosyncratic viewing angles abound at varying elevations.

I've had good company watching cricket at the 'G over the years; the quality of conversation about cricket in Melbourne is unmatched. Heres hoping for a speedy return to the 'G.

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