By Janine Milliken
My mother is so rude. I was standing talking to her and she sprayed mouth wash into my mouth because I smelt of cigarettes. I do expect this from family, so it’s all ok except now I have a chance to throw a tranquilizer in her mouth when she is moaning at me. Revenge is sweet and karma takes too long.
I was thinking about when I used to visit the ‘shark tank’ in Durban to go and watch my rugby team play. I do not watch the Sharks anymore as they seem to be losing everything right now, but they still my team and I have to remain loyal. The tank was amazing. We got seats at the top (actually could not see much), the cheap seats, and my sister who is scared of heights had a panic attack and could not move. She had to be blind folded and led to her seat and then she did not move. The Sharks performed poorly while I watched, although the men in the group enjoyed the ‘dance show’ performed by the woman at the beginning of the match. Binoculars were even brought out for this event. Needless to say I hit the men over the head with my cap and told them to grow up. Although the binoculars were brought out by me when the men arrived on the field, pretending I knew all about rugby – which I do not really. The only rule I know about is ‘passing forward’, as everyone complains so loudly about this rule, oh and the spear tackle is so bad for the brain and spine.
I do sit on the edge of my seat when my nephews played rugby as I am a neuro psychologist and know how easy it is to damage the brain. Once damaged you have many cognitive difficulties, all because you head butted someone on the field. Although I do recommend rugby for angry teenagers as this gets the anger out of them.
We are a nation that has grown up with rugby, soccer and cricket. I have to say I enjoy the 20/20 cricket matches the most and have been blessed to watch them live in Cape Town. I was sitting in the front row, in Cape Town, when the cricketer ‘Zulu’ hit a ball right at me, in order to stop it I put my hands out and nearly broke my fingers. My family who were sitting in Zimbabwe phoned me and said they had just seen me on tv. I was going through IVF treatments and looked about 4 months pregnant, so actually did not want to be seen, but the whole world saw me – fit, fat and flourishing, looking like a bag lady in order to cover my fat stomach that was not a baby!
The whole world stops, in our house, when the rugby is on. I have to say all I need to do is watch the highlights and I am good. I have to put up with my husband putting his Ireland shirt on and then have to be quiet when the anthems are sang out. This I find hard as I like to sing along and keep getting told to shut up as I am ruining it and I am also making up my own words. Sometimes I sing just to annoy everyone as I have to sit through 80 minutes of sweaty men throwing a ball around a large field.
Now my dad was a brilliant cricketer in his young days and even made it to the Rhodesian team, the days before we were called Zimbabwe. I have been dragged around every sports club in the whole of Zimbabwe and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I cannot tell you the shenanigans we got up to as children. One time I walked up to my mom, with the top half of my dress and the bottom half missing, I was little. Of course I had no idea where my dress was and my mom went off to find it. She found it at the top of the cricket stand, hooked to a seat. Apparently I had hooked it, carried on walking and as I walked the dress unravelled (is that a word?) itself, obviously I was oblivious to this as I was now running around with my knickers on. I had no idea I had lost my dress. This poor dress was resurrected and sewn back together. Then there was a time I got hit over the head with a brick by Brendan (my partner in crime) who is like a brother to me, he thought it would be funny to launch a whole brick at my heard. Actually I thought it was funny too and although stunned for a couple of seconds, the game was now on to launch bricks at one another.
My mother always says that she dreaded the loudspeaker because she always knew it involved me doing something dangerous. The loudspeaker would go, ‘Could the mothers of Janine and Brendan (they knew us by name!), Please go and fetch your children from the building site and stop them from throwing bricks at each other’ or ‘could the mothers of Janine and Brendan please go and get your children down from the cricket stand as they are swinging off it and now appear to be stuck’ or ‘could the mothers of Janine and Brendan please go to the squash courts as Janine and Brendan are hanging off the balcony.’ Oh yes we had fun. We were naughty children, were well known in the cricketing community and we took great delight in coming up with new schemes of how to be naughty. So although I was naughty, I actually love cricket as I grew up with it and was always playing cricket with the boy children of my age.
My gran, who was protective of me walked into the playground and my friend was pushing my face into the ground. My gran was horrified and pushed my friend’s face into the ground and asked her how that felt. It was only after watching us a couple of times that my gran realized that I was the one who instigated the whole ‘face dumping into sand’ and my friend was just defending herself. My gran stopped defending me, as she knew I was quite capable of looking after myself and I was usually the one who started all the shenanigans anyway.
My dad used to love his cricket and he was really a good all-rounder. The best thing my dad did, and to this day I still giggle, is that he used to rile the other cricket team up to get them cross. Once cross they could not play and ended up losing. Finally everyone realized my dad was a joker and they started to enjoy his tactics on the field. To this day cricketers come up to my dad and they have such a good laugh about what my dad used to do on the field. Pretty genius I thought.
Anyway I used to play cricket at home, needless to say there were many broken windows from the cricket balls. When this happened, the bat was dropped and we all went and hid because of my mother. I was highly competitive and may have, ok I did, hit opponents over the head with the bat! Brendan and I would stuff all the food into our mouths so the other kids could not eat anything. We slid down the stair rails, climbed the highest rock (tree), found the kitchen and dared each other to steal the food. It always ended up me doing it as I was the smallest and could manipulate myself into small places without being seen.
I am so proud of my dad for his cricket achievements and if you go to the Hatfield club, to this day his name is on their board. I have a photo of it as well. My dad is my hero and always will be. He has been the most amazing dad to all his children and would give his life for us.
If I was a man I would be playing cricket right now. Although I have been in the Thailand Ladies Cricket team while I was there for 4 months. We won all our matches and I loved it. I am more of a batter and fielder…. Jonty Rhodes, here I come! I am a strategic player and always go for the weak point of the team, which I know is unfair but my competitive side just cannot stop itself. So please do not play monopoly with me, it will not end pleasant even if I win because then I will do the dance and I will remind you of your loss for years to come. So I am saying I do not play well with others.
Brendan and I would also have wrestling matches just for fun to see who was strongest. I think he was strongest, but I was the quickest. We grew up together with Heidi and Brendan because both our dads played in the same cricket team. So we were just babies crawling around the fields when we first started our shenanigans. My mom and Brendan’s mother started to ignore the loud speaker after a while as they knew it was their children and they stopped coming to rescue us as they pretended we belonged to someone else.
A very spoilt only child used to come to the cricket. This mother would bring along all the expensive toys the child owned. As Brendan and I had never seen these toys before we would dive in and play with this child’s toys. This only child was not happy to share and would moan the whole time we were playing, until the mother of the child would go to my mom and complain. Eventually my mom got so sick of it, she told the other mother to please not bring the toys as Janine and Brendan are going to play with them. ‘So bring the toys or not but I am tired of telling my child to stop playing with your child’s toys, or maybe teach your child to share’ – well said my mother!
If you go to Country Club in Highlands there is a sign that says ‘no roller skating inside’ and 'no hanging on tennis nets' and 'no climbing into the squash courts through the top window' and 'stop playing cricket on the greens', yes, Brendan and I are responsible for these signs. We are legends! Whenever I meet the cricketers now, 20 years later, they are astounded that I am grown up and well-mannered after I terrorized them when I was young.
Well played us, Legends…. Brendan and I added fun to an otherwise boring day!