by Blake Dawson* <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first draft of Scoring was completed in 1997 and shown to a few friends. This extensively corrected version has become the back story for several other manuscripts, both recently completed and in progress, so the author is not seeking alternative storyline suggestions. It even contains some inaccurate recollections which play out interestingly later.
It has been submitted to Nifty in 2007 as a token of the appreciation the anonymous author has for other Nifty authors whose writing he has enjoyed, especially in Gay Male:Young Friends since making it a habit from mid 2005. The author has had almost no direct communication with other authors and so is certainly not seeking any, though he will see e-mails sent to the nominal author.
The author does not believe there is anything to be gained by trying to restrict the distribution of this story and so would be more than happy to see copies widely circulated.
Warning: While the nominal author (Blake) and quite a few of his mates identify as gay, their story is set against a background of social expectations of heterosexuality which they are not able to entirely escape.
If you like to read this kind of story but are concerned about possible legal implications, work to change the law! If you don’t, why are you here?
*Blake Dawson is the person the otherwise anonymous author would be if “trading places” became magically possible.
If you want to read most of what you would normally find in an introduction, you should keep your wits about you in the last few chapters, as the story of this book being written necessarily permeates the stories from the year in which it was largely written, raising a number of largely unanswered meta level questions.
One thing I will not apologise for is the chapter structure in which eight overly symmetric years are each divided into five very asymmetric chapters following a decision made at the outset to provide a rack of pigeon holes for my memory, and I am more than happy that this structure survives, even though I now clearly see that interesting things can never really be so evenly arranged.
This book also contains far greater truths than can ever be found in non-fiction, because the revealing of them requires enough be done with the (non-public) identities, places and times that they neither incriminate nor libel identifiable people.
This book also contains a ratio of sex to violence that is close to that of everyday life and thus far more sex and far less violence than readers may have come to expect. Much of the sex would also be illegal in many jurisdictions, and is thus something one segment of the population wants to deny the very existence of, while a larger segment is more than happy that nothing be said about. The primary reason for completing this book is to counter those denials.
This book is also far too much about cricket, that is unless you are prepared to truly understand what cricket is about. Cricket can too easily be portrayed as a complex system for generating large quantities of statistical data, one side of the Scoring that is the title. But cricket is more importantly an arena for the development of relationships. And relationships can also all too easily become another system for generating large quantities of statistical data--the other side of the title.
While I hope you enjoy the detailed data even half as much as I have enjoyed living it and recounting it, I also hope you will come to see the patterns in the data as I do.
Having graduated to the third grade, I was now tolerated on the oval at lunchtime, where a continuing version of cricket dominated first term activities. Fresh from six weeks of beach and backyard matches, I gravitated to the fringe of the playing area, where I quickly became enchanted with the batting of fifth grader Hayden Jenkins. Despite the best efforts of a lot of bigger boys, Hayden quickly came to dominate the wicket as you had to bat until somebody got you out, even carrying your hand from the end of one lunch break to the start of the next. In the second week, after he had batted right through two consecutive lunchtimes, Hayden unilaterally changed the rules by not turning up at the start on the third day. As soon as the others got a fresh game underway, he snuck into the outfield where eventually a catch came his way and he again batted through to the bell. So was born the 1989 version of schoolground rules, in which a new player started batting each day ensuring a few others got a chance, however briefly, before Hayden provided another demonstration of grace and flair.
His batting made him the first person I had ever really observed with any care and I became quite obsessed by his excitement and elegance at the crease. While he who fielded the ball was entitled to bowl it, practicalities meant that outfielders usually tossed the ball to somebody closer to bowl on their behalf—the nominal bowler getting to bat if the batter was bowled and the catcher doing likewise if the batter was caught. While I thought of myself as a batter, I gradually drifted into the area where I might sometimes get a chance to bowl. When the odd ball came my way and Hayden was as ever at the crease, I just aimed to bowl “in the slot” from where he would confidently stroke the ball into or right through the outfield. And as the big kids got to notice that I didn’t bowl wide balls, the number tossed my way from the outfield steadily increased.
Getting prematurely comfortable in the role of fodder bowler, one hot humid Tuesday lunchtime I amazed myself by producing a late outswinger, to which Hayden managed to make it look as though he had pulled his shot. It certainly woke me up and I was even more amazed to see him nod almost imperceptibly in my direction. I thought it was the right thing to try to bowl the next ball in the same slot, for which I knew he would be ready. He dabbed that next ball through the gully then thumped me through cover point, at which I allowed myself a smile and relaxed again. Without knowing I was doing anything different, my next ball went the other way, snuck through a gap between bat and pad which nobody had seen let alone found that summer and crashed into the stumps. That simply was not intended to happen—all I wanted to do was watch him hit me all over the oval—but here he was walking up the wicket and handing the bat to me. I well knew the rules and was able to go through the motions in a daze, facing up for the ball he was obliged to bowl back to me—one of the few he had had to bowl during that term. While in other circumstances I might have hoped to hold my end up for at least a few balls, when he tossed me up a real lolly, I could only manage to pop it up into the largely vacant cover area and see Hayden’s fielding skills get the better of him as he sprinted 10 metres and dived to catch me out first ball. I was in turn obliged to bowl the first ball to him and was very careful to make sure it did nothing unusual and he pushed it back with similar care. I just let the ball run past me to the waiting pack around the stumps and headed for the outfield to hide my panic. Before I turned around I saw the next ball whizz past me—at least he wasn’t worried about the other bowlers. I settled near the mid-wicket boundary in time to see Hayden thump another ball through point, and then it all got too much and I sped off the oval into the nearby toilet block where I found a vacant cubicle and emptied my bowels, my bladder and, in silence, my tear ducts for what seemed to be forever. Eventually, I found myself playing with my dick while visualising Hayden thumping my two fluke balls across the oval the way he had always done with all the others. The nervous tension must have helped me climax just before the warning bell rang out, giving me time to wash up and make it to class without anything worse to show than a face that would not have been much different after any other sticky lunchtime’s cricket.
The next day, I didn’t even go out to the oval for lunch—I had made up my mind to find some other interests—but it could not last. Without joining the game, on Thursday I made sure I could again watch him bat from a safe distance, and before the week was out I had worked out a new, safe, role to play—fielding out where a proper cover fielder stands—a spot which had been conspicuously vacant whenever Hayden was at the crease. A weekend provides plenty of time for a fertile imagination and to work out in the driveway just how to make a cricket ball swing, so by Monday I was determined to try my bowling on some of the other kids before Hayden took over his place at the crease. But still my dominant image was his batting and a secret wish that I might also be able to bat the same way—bowling was only ever going to be a means to an end. And it didn’t take long before I earnt another chance with the bat, in response to which Hayden immediately jogged from his familiar deep long on catching position into short cover where he had previously picked me up caught and bowled. The one thing he did not yet know was that while I wanted him to bat that I also wanted to bat like him and therefore to be able to play shots on the off side—not just slog to leg like most other kids and, anyway, I really wasn’t big enough to do much slogging. I defended a few balls before failing to keep down my first attempt to force into covers. In hindsight I could not have done better. Throughout the rest of term we fielded at cover for each other which certainly helped that part of our game. I managed to get a bat before him fairly regularly, he managed to catch me out nearly as often, and I managed to always bowl my one and only ball back to him where he could stroke it away quite safely.