Many years ago, I could not wait for summer. The anticipation of longer days and sunlit evenings, which meant permission to hang at the Basin pool acting cool, was almost too much to bear.
But it was not just the Cataract Gorge nor the burning sun on pale skin of Northern Irish heritage that generated excitement, rather, it was the sound and smell of cricket.
It was the taste of a cricket ball long before spittle was no longer permitted to polish the shiny side.
The stale pong of a kit bag neatly put away at the end of the previous season with sweat remaining in the fabric from hands and legs seeping into protective wear.
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It was the stumps being hammered into a newly rolled wicket or more often an artificial pitch that required extra soil, so the stumps stayed put.
It was batting with inners and then not batting with inner gloves and rolling on an extra batting handle grip and removing it when you were dismissed cheaply.
It was scoring the game old style to quell nerves before batting and listening to the test match on the wireless.
It was watching the first test live from Brisbane on the one television the local primary school owned.
It was backyard matches and disagreements and half-taped tennis balls cutting you in half.
It was antihistamines being just as important as your protector.
It was Allan Border and Stephen Waugh, Ian Botham and Allan Lamb, and being scared of Ricky Ponting.
It was summer.
There was even the outside chance of a new bat, but that would have to wait until Christmas Day when three weeks of knocking in and breaking the Hills Hoist in the process would follow.
In the meantime, the need to apply copious amounts of linseed oil on an English willow bat was based more on ritual than need.
From a sporting sense life was simple.
Soccer in the winter and cricket in the summer with a hit of tennis or a roster of basketball thrown in for good measure if there was someone to give you a lift.
We were not hampered or confused by choice.
We only knew soccer and cricket and that was all we needed, providing competition and repetition and dedication, hard-work, and lessons that we can still recall, and, ultimately, love.
The local sporting clubs of the area benefited because we were always practicing.
It was what you did - head to the nets or go for a kick, often riding your BMX to the ground, we were always on the go.
Sport was a hobby as much as it was the opportunities that organised games presented during the week and on the weekend.
And while choice was limited in today's sense, we had everything to assist our aspirations.
The Australian way of life encourages us to try as many sports and hobbies as possible.
We are a sport-obsessed nation with state, national, and international teams featured on free to air and pay television and in the general media every day.
Our sporting culture is different to the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe where the world game, Association Football, dominates playgrounds and parks and streets and playing fields.
Soccer has grown significantly as a participation sport in Tasmania and across the country, however the game has not lessened in popularity across the world during that time.
In fact, female players have improved exponentially with Europe and have claimed the mantle of best in the world from the US.
For a sport-obsessed country, perhaps choice is a handbrake on success in the games that matter to the whole world, rich or poor, large in population or small.
Perhaps our kids play too many sports and should commit earlier to the one they cherish or show most promise.
A common question asked at local sporting organisations is at what age do you start grading kids based upon ability.
In Australia, we are very reluctant to begin this process too early, not wanting to upset children or families or place too much pressure on young minds and bodies.
For a sport-obsessed country, perhaps choice is a handbrake on success in the games that matter to the whole world, rich or poor, large in population or small. Perhaps our kids play too many sports and should commit earlier to the one they cherish or show most promise.
The result of this procrastination is mismatched teams and lopsided results with some players overestimating their ability while others are left disheartened and walk away from the game.
To be honest, for sports such as soccer, dominant countries throughout the world have noticed talent by the age of 10 and are developing players, training four and five nights per week and 52 weeks per year with a kick about on rest days for fun.
The Australian Cricket Team just won the T20 World Cup, but it will be a very long time before we win the soccer World Cup or become basketball world champions.
The challenge for our wealthy country, where sporting results matter and we crucify teams who fail to live up to unrealistic standards, is that we may need to again remove choice from our youngsters' lives.
And that is a counter-intuitive proposition that makes me feel utterly uncomfortable.
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