5 Lessons Learned

Why sun why? Why are you beating down on me as I sit in a stuffy classroom, attempting to educate a bunch of ignoramus, smelly teens. They don’t care how many sides an octagon has or understand the intricacies of our Brexit deal (not even David Davis knows that one). They want to be outside lazing in the sun, checking out the birds (many are part of the RSPB I’ll have you know) or sipping from bottles of Smirnoff Ice elder siblings bought for them. Actually you know what, sod it. I’m going to be that hip, cool teacher who teaches lessons in the hot weather. Ready for some archaeology, drama, english and more? Class take off those ties, grab your sunglasses and slap on some lotion, we’re taking a walk…

1) Archaeology 

Archaeology. The search for jewels and remains of the past. Boring right? Because all you do is spend weeks digging in the same plot of land, getting hot and dusty, pretending you’re in a movie. The sum of your efforts being a can of John Smith and a chipped piece of pottery which you excitedly believe is Roman, until you brush off the dirt and realise it’s just a stone. Normally that’s the case. But class I recently unearthed an artefact which is extremely relevant today. In the winter of 2016, this figurine was thrown under a pile of dung, for it had become tarnished and unaware of the location of its off stump. Now though I proudly present, scrubbed up to his full glory, the long lost artefact of Jos Buttler!

Buried under a weight of expectation and inability to focus in the red ball arena, Buttler himself freely admits how he almost gave up the test match covenant. The ready treasure trove of IPL riches and gleaming jewels of success in England’s ODI side meant his passion for test cricket disappeared like the ark of the covenant. However recent blistering displays have shone a light in the darkness. Where he was cut adrift, swallowed up by the pressures of having to keep and bat, now he is free.

Test match cricket has previously been a temple of doom for Jos. Averaging just 31 in eighteen matches, his heart was cut out from the side in the winter of 2016. Tomorrow though he will proudly emerge, full of confidence onto the field of dreams called Lord’s. Thanks to Ed Smith, Buttler has been given a second sip off the Holy Grail; to play his natural game. Expect whip cracking cuts, punching drives and heroic like sixes. Jos Buttler has the license to channel his inner Indiana Jones and be England’s hero.

2) Foreign Languages

Not sure I’ve mentioned it yet but tomorrow is the start of the test match summer. Yeah, think I may have done actually. Probably a bit too much. But it’s exciting. An England team decimated over the eternal winter, now have a chance to gain some confidence. The opponents? Pakistan. A team whose most capped player is Azhar Ali with just 63 tests. I’m calling this lesson, foreign languages but that’s probably unfair on Pakistan, for they have been in England longer than many of our players.

Led by wickie Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan landed on our blessed isle way back on 30th April. That was nigh on a three weeks ago! Back then we were complaining that the weather was just too hot. Every patch of grass in the city centre was covered by tomato burnt guys and gals who thought the sun would hang up his hat at any moment. Three weeks later and some of us are actually beginning to tan. Whilst those porcelain folk (gingers I’m looking at you here) have consequently used up three bottles of after sun.

Pakistan have been treated to a glorious few weeks; just not during their warm up matches. In four practice games thus far, weather has affect two, they’ve lost one and Ireland put up stern resistance in the other. With four uncapped players in a sixteen man squad though, should we expect anything else? This Pakistan team are so inexperienced they make Mark Stoneman look like an old pro. If by old pro you think we mean an established, confident player you’d be mistaken. In this instance, old pro, means a player who bats like a donkey and should’ve been shown the stable door a long time ago.

You’ll be pleased to know I take this teaching rather seriously, having spent all of yesterday morning researching members of the Pakistan squad. Although it took quite a while, I’ve learnt this. Absolutely nothing. We know Amir, Asad Shafiq, Rahat Ali and Sarfraz. The rest? With a host of young batsmen, who can tell? They could be world beaters, or prospective cheaters. Ah, probably should get my lawyer ready for that one. Never mind I’m sure they won’t mi- (Editor – I’m sorry to report that due to the scandalous nature of this section, Whitto was arrested by police and taken down to the station. His class have been left under the jurisdiction of the janitor, Mr McCabe, who I gather knows very little about cricket. Then again we could say the same about the incarcerated moron).

3) English 

A, B, C, D, E, F, G… That’s English yeah? The alphabet. The problem with having to fill in for Mr Whitto is that he never actually prepares his lessons. From what I gather he makes it all up on the spot. Which yes I grant you is rather impressive, yet it doesn’t allow for illness, idiocy or irrational behaviour on his behalf. As a result I’m merely guessing that this lesson was going to be something about an English player who was doing well in the Royal London One Day Cup. Whatever the heck that is.

As we live in Manchester I’ve done a quick Google and apparently Lancashire play here. Furthermore it appears on Sunday they rather thrashed Durham Jets (what does that mean, it makes zero sense?). An Englishman who played well was one Alex Davies, scoring 147 off 137 balls. Apparently he was like Jack Russell at the crease (barking and urinating on the stumps presumably), tenaciously scoring in every direction possible. Especially relevant as his score is the second highest in List A cricket for Lancs and as a result they reached a total of 314-7. Apparently too, Davies’ technique is similar to Eoin Morgan’s and thus if he keeps up this form, we could have a replacement for the Irishman (playing for England? I swear players can just play for whoever they feel like these days). So… yeah. In conclusion Davies is English. Bit of a lazy link I must say.

4) Drama

Ha he wants to do a piece on drama. How ironic, considering this article has turned into a segment on Law & Order. I’m guessing the drama narrative concerns the fact we have this One Day Cup thing instead of county cricket at the moment. It started last Thursday, after five rounds of championship matches, which saw high octane moments, such as Yorkshire scuttled out for 50 and Dan Vilas’ 250. Yet just when it was steadily building to a crescendo of clattering wickets, consequently having spectators gasping in Poldark like awe (over Turner’s topless scenes I imagine), red ball cricket has stopped.

Like interrupting a movie by crunching popcorn, or spoiling the Royal Wedding by going to the loo, it’s a shame county cricket needs to be put on hold. Mind you with James Hildreth biffing a best of 159, Luke Wright making a first century in four years and Mason Crane spinning his way through Surrey, so far there’s been a reasonable amount of drama. Maybe county cricket requires this break; like a season gap in American sitcoms. All the leading players can have a bit of reckless fun, stay out late at night and wear brightly coloured costumes. Oops think I revealed too much personal info there. How teachers manage to control what they say is beyond me. Or maybe it’s just they don’t have any other life to speak about? Anyway, there’s probably drama in cricket still. Moving on please.

5) Classics

‘The Iliad’, ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’, ‘Beowulf.’ What do these have in common? They’re all shite. Sorry I mean they’re all classics. Epics. Epically long more like. Why would you teach this rubbish to kids, teach them about real life; how to manage your finances, what colour the recycling bin is, you know useful stuff. Not this utter sh- (Ed – Going to jump in here Mr McCabe. Good news, Mr Whitto has returned, looking like he’s been through a car wash. Whitto get back to work).

Crikey already moved into the final lesson of the day, that was rather speedy. Turns out kids I wasn’t taken to jail for slander; it was for crimes against jokes. ‘You must be joking’ I said. They replied, ‘exactly our point you have no idea what a joke is mate.’

Anyway very briefly, seems like the classic notion of tossing a coin to start a test match, might be old news. The ICC meet later this week to discuss proposals on whether the visiting captain has dibs to bat or bowl first. Since 2016 no toss has been in place in county cricket, meaning we’ve seen less green, seaming surfaces which played into the home team’s hands. No more tossing off at the start of cricket then. After all it was a messy business.

Well thank the cricketing gods that’s over and done with. My apologies for leaving you class, however I’m sure you’ll be glad to know a rap on the knuckle by a policeman, ain’t going to stop me. There’s an exciting few days ahead with England taking on Pakistan, therefore be sure I don’t catch you in class; stay home and watch it on the tele. There’s your homework! Now I’m off for a sweet sip of freedom. Class dismissed!