[personal profile] lemonbella
Graeme isn’t going to be International!Graeme anymore. I will miss Graeme. I’m not sure how to watch cricket without Graeme. Although I hope he might be international commentator Graeme sometime soon. Graeme helped me recover from the trauma of England and Geraint and Hoggy and Ashes 2006. He introduced me to the game ’South Africans being exactly the same as they are in my head’. He’s the only sportsperson to have ever made my ‘hero’ list, (man, that 154 still makes me cry). He ate Tacos and cheated on bleep tests and yelled and pointed and had captainly hair and was a frontline spinner and batted without functioning arms and humiliated Australians and coveted trophies and got half the runs.

Thank you, Graeme, for the inspiration and for giving me my love of cricket back.

For a while there I scored the South African matches. Graeme got many different kinds of scores. He started with an ordinary score and then got a Graemeyness Score and then developed a svelteness score as well. Imaginary Graeme often got scores as well. When he was there in spirit.
I’ve removed the actual match details, because it’s really all about the Graeme. See if you can guess which matches they are, or just the format or maybe whether Graeme actually played at all. Often it’s hard to tell from my commentary.

Smith 8 (20) Graeme now has to be given two scores, one for his cricket and one for his essential Graemeyness. In the cricket department he gets 8 because he didn't get a century, but his captaincy was excellent; he was deliberately shouty and pointy in the field and had obviously told other people to be louder too. Also, he sat in the rain for an hour and a half zipped up inside his rain jacket, just so he could cheer AB. For his Graemeyness he gets 10 because he leapt and cheered and wore three jumpers because he's not in Africa and he found beer snakes incredibly funny. And he leant right over the balcony to give Dale Steyn batting instructions. He gets another 10 for appearing in the tunnel wearing his skin tight undershirt. The general world of cricketing photography gets deducted 37 points because I can't believe we've never seen it before.

Smith 11 (57)
There are not enough words to describe Graeme Smith. That innings was *phenomenal*. The pressure he was under was immense and about a lot more than a single test match, but you never doubted he could do it. No other captain has to deal with the stuff he has to deal with and still no other captain comes near to him in terms of leading from the front. He gets a Graemeyness score of 57 because in the post match interview, when asked how he'd approached the final run chase he said "I looked at the score and I halved it and knew that's what I had to get and the others could get the rest." It was just such a wonderfully matter-of-fact phrase and there was obviously absolutely no doubt in his mind that he could score half the necessary runs. I suspect Graeme believes that captaincy means you have to get half the runs all the time.

Graeme 37
Kallis doesn’t get any points. If they're going to insist on using him to replace Graeme, I'm just going to give Graeme points for what I *imagine* he's doing instead of batting. For this match he was sat on a sofa with his duvet, yelling at the TV. His Mum made him a sandwich and told him to keep the noise down. He left several messages on Botha's phone, and one to remind the umpires about the memo he sent instructing them to give Herschelle three goes at the wicket because they obviously forgot about that.

Imaginary Graeme 34
Imaginary Graeme had pizza whilst he watched the game this time. It had extra stringy cheese on it and he had to lick tomato sauce off his cast. He's a bit annoyed because he asked CSA for a man to come and stand next to him and take notes of his thoughts, given that he can’t take notes himself, but they refused. He's left a message on Paul Harris' phone to see if he'll do it.

Imaginary Graeme 432
So, it turns out other people have imaginary Graemes too. On the one hand this makes me feel good, and on the other it makes me slightly concerned that Sparkly and I have imaginary cricketers in common. Graeme's clearly spent this match trying to drink beer with his feet. His toes are all sticky. I'm just going to leave you thinking about that for a while.

Smith 10 (32)
Graeme didn't get many runs, but you can't really blame him for that. For evermore he will automatically gets 4 points, simply because of how wonderful that innings at Edgbaston was. He gets to 9 because he got hit in the knackers and had to take a few minutes to lie down quietly and adjust things. It was very dignified. Later on he sat on the balcony in his pants: That's what gets him to the 10. For the record, whenever Graeme appears in public in his pants, he's going to be awarded 10 points. He gets a Graemeyness score of 32 because he announced that he was going to take the Basil D'Olivera trophy to bed with him. This was the premier example of the "South Africans Being Exactly Like They Are In Our Heads" game. This game is going so well that I'm convinced that one day we're going to stumble across some very compromising pictures of Graeme Smith and one, if not all, of his players.

Graeme (10) (45619) (3896)
His biffing was marvellous. No one produces Necessary Biffing like Graeme. Graemeyness is high because there was pointing and patting and an incredibly intimate hug with Morne Morkel. Also because he was so lovely in his post-match speech he made Mark Boucher cry. Yes, Mark Boucher. There’s extra points because when he was interviewed after the review thing he made journalists laugh and then told them he’d come to talk about batting. Graeme loves talking about batting. Who wouldn’t want to talk about batting? Also, stage 14 of the Graeme Smith Special Plan for Taking Over the World came to fruition this match, (to recap: Stage 14 is “grind everyone down until the like you”). The sky commentators (all people who spent Graeme’s first four captainly years saying how rubbish he was, how terrible and unsustainable his batting technique was, what an appalling person he was, and how he didn’t deserve the captaincy) spent the entire match saying how incredible he is, how fantastic his biffing is and how utterly stunningly stupendous he is to have lasted in the captaincy this long. “I lasted 5 years and it mentally crushed me” – atherton. God, Graeme was svelte this match. Really, incredibly svelte. And his hair was all young-debutant captain hair, except with added captainlyness. His svelteness often makes me enthusiastic, but this time it just took me into a very happy place. We’ll leave that there.

Graeme (15) (45) (3498)
That is possibly the best Graemeyness score he’s ever received. Live on international TV (although I’m not entirely sure he knew it was being filmed, Shaun Pollock certainly didn’t), Graeme casually leant extremely close to a retired South African cricketer. This isn’t noteworthy in itself, being a major hobby of Graeme’s, but then he rolled up his shorts to reveal an area Shaun Pollock referred to as “thigh” but basic anatomical knowledge refers to as “groin” and clearly told Shaun about his big bruise. Graemeyness is a hard thing to quantify, because it has so many facets, but if ever it were to appear on Wikipedia and a definition was required that scene would be it. Shaun Pollock, btw, gets 437 points for attempting to poke the bruise and Nasser Hussain gets 13 for asking, in a scandalised voice, “but what was he asking you to touch?”

Graeme (98) (4037) (12)
Battingwise Graeme gets 98 He didn’t score too many runs this match, however he clearly gets a 10 for playing the match in the first place. Then he gets another 10 for even walking out in the second innings and a further 13 for admitting that he had to be dressed by Morne Morkel in order to do so. The other 65 are for doing it all whilst not being able to eat breakfast. Breakfast is important to Graeme. There's 1 point deducted for not wearing his glasses on the balcony. That made me a little sad. And I've tried putting contact lenses in with only one hand and it's really damn hard. There's a Graemeyness score of 4037. This mark was quite high even before the match started because of Graeme's sarcastic response to Doug Bollinger's "150000% effort". (Graeme's response was made all the better by Bollinger's failure to see the funny side in true, Australian cricketer style). Then came the match; and the bravery; and the flying to Melbourne and back in two days so that he could still collect his shiny thing; and the having to rest the shiny thing on the podium because his arms don’t work anymore; and the not wanting his bats to get damaged on the flight home and protecting them with his pants; and the protecting his cast from getting wet moments after he himself had removed the cast to put his hand in front of a really hard ball travelling at 90mph. The bulk of those points, though, are because for a while there, Graeme was clearly seriously considering performing an experimental medical procedure on himself…."it sounds simple enough." Thank God he broke his other hand. Graemey Sveltness gets a 12, There's a brief video of him in a black t-shirt which is a 10 by itself, but then he managed to make Kallis's shirt look svelte and that's quite a feat.

Graeme 653
I saw Graeme runs. Graeme runs are *fantastic*. Also he gets 642 of those points for making a complete and utter hash of a high five with Morne Morkel. Maybe they should include that in their fielding drills. He gets one point for standing in the middle all by himself for five minutes, trying not to look awkward, until other people came out to do the toss.

And, just to remind us all, Here were my suggestions for what to do to observe National Graeme Day:

1) Hit things really far
2) Get angry at administrators and have to be restrained by a colleague
3) Clean a cricket bat with nail varnish whilst half naked
4) Encourage your pretty young work colleagues to text you when they miss you
5) Injure both your arms and still insist on doing something that requires the use of both arms.
6) Eat a taco really quickly before anyone else notices
7) Be much larger in real life than people expect
8) Tell the truth even when it pisses off important people
9) Be svelte
10) get a huge crowd of Australians to cheer at you
11) Be statuesque
12) Covet other people's chips
13) Complete the to do list you have pinned to your fridge
14) Look surprisingly good in pink
15) Cheat on your fitness test
16) Have captainly hair
17) Point at people until they move
18) Be much better and significantly less whiny than KP
19) Covet shiny things
20) Try to touch your nose with your tongue when you're bored

Everyday should be National Graeme Day from now on

March 2014

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