Day 80: #roadtoswich

“Road trippin’ with my two favourite allies /
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies”
– Red Hot Chili Peppers – Road Trippin’

Today’s adventure was an actual adventure of sorts, a road trip from Sydney up to Ipswich, QLD. This was a 15-hour odyssey that began when we hit the road at 4:45am, and we landed here in ‘Swich at 6:45pm local time, having lost an hour to the stark lack of Daylight Savings Time in this barbarian state.

In some ways it was the most uneventful road trip of all time. Nothing calamitous happened, nothing extraordinary happened. We just drove, continually, all damn day. I slept through half of it, and drove through the other half. Stopping to pick strawberries was basically the highlight of our day. We’d been planning this road trip for a year (even had a hashtag ready 12 months ago…) and in the end…what boring old nannas we turned out to be. But whatevs, we’re here to play some vigoro.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to try to explain vigoro. As I alluded to yesterday, my stock three-word answer to “What’s vigoro?” is that…it’s like cricket. If you are American or something and don’t understand what cricket is, I will simply direct you to Google and live to fight another day. Ain’t nobody got time for explaining cricket. So anyway, vigoro is played much the same way as cricket, but with a few important differences:

– The bat is a different shape, rounder and more resembling a paddle (see below)
– A vigoro ball is smaller than a cricket ball and seamless, and we play with two balls, one red, one white.
– Instead of a bowler bowling an over of six balls from one end and then changing ends, two bowlers operate from one end, one with the red ball, the other with the white, bowling one after the other (there is only one ball bowled for each play). When the white ball is being bowled, the bowler with the red ball is excluded from play and must not touch the white ball, and vice versa.
– Bowling does not have to be cricket-style bowling, it can be released with any kind of overhand throwing motion, so closer in style to baseball pitching or simple throwing.
– If the batter hits the ball in front of square there is a compulsory run; i.e. it’s ‘hit and run’.

Aside from minor technical differences that we don’t need to go into here, the game is otherwise played just the same as cricket. Being ‘hit and run’ it is played at a much faster pace than cricket, and thus takes much less time. If anything it would probably most resemble a Twenty20.

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It was invented as a substitute game for girls to play while the boys were playing cricket, at a time before women were allowed to play the gentlemen’s game. It waned in popularity when it was removed from the school curriculum, although there are still thousands of vigoro players in Queensland, and a few handfuls in Tasmania and New South Wales, one of the latter being your humble blogger. Every year the All Australian Vigoro Titles are held between the three competing states.

Which brings me to this week. I’m here in Ipswich, QLD for the 2015 AA Titles, representing NSW. Represent yo. Curiously, the last time I blogged about my week at the Titles was the last time that we played them in QLD, back in 2009. Seems only fitting that I should once again blog from here in the Sunshine State about our quest for the ‘Ashes’. And so it shall be, as long as I can find enough chances to do so; these are loooooong days at the field we’re talking about here. But I shall endeavour to cross live to you from the 2015 All Australian Vigoro Titles here in Ipswich. For the next week I am your vigoro correspondent.

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