by Blake Dawson* <>

From the Preface to Chapter 1:

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.

Chapter 14: Captain

With Hayden also getting on to his case, each Saturday evening out cruising became another step along the track to get Garth reinvolved with cricket, and we finally got him to put in appearance at the club on the first night of junior training. Hayden had alerted Walshie that there might be a chance to convince Garth to return to playing, but as it turned out not a single adult turned up to help the Under 12s and Garth just fell into giving us a hand without any prompting. That Saturday he suggested that if he was to have anything to do with cricket on a regular basis, that he wouldn’t mind being scorer for the Under 12s seeing as we were so short of support, and as that would stop him from going out on the tear on Friday nights. At the next training, Walshie managed to get the fathers of two of the younger tackers out of their cars to help, and Garth was more than happy for them to run things while he just took some fielding with kids who were not batting or bowling.

It was soon obvious that the two newly interested dads would be more than happy to look after the tackers on Saturday mornings, which still left the number one Under 12 side, my side, without anybody other than Garth who would commit to being there each week. Peter Wilkins was asked again, as I am sure were some other fathers, but all that elicited was an assurance from some of the mothers that they would, between them, ensure that we had transport and that at least one of them would be at our games at all times, but none of them was interested in putting their hand up to be coach either.

Meanwhile another fortnight of school holidays came around and Garth was again asked to house sit, with the understanding that that might continue for several more school holiday periods as his old teacher’s parents were not keeping too well and she wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. With the persistent excuse of talking about our cricket team, I was in and out at some stage almost every day and gradually managed to engage him in more and more physical and mildly affectionate play, to the point of evoking the first signs of reflex arousal. At no point did he initiate anything, but he did not back away either, and eventually he seemed to accept that it was more than ok for him to at least respond with a bit of positive affection.

Before the start of our final pre-season practice session, Walshie pulled Garth aside for what I soon learnt was to find out whether he would be prepared to umpire at our games rather than score, as it appeared a couple of mothers would be happy to share the scoring duties. Garth was prepared to consider it seriously but wanted to have a longer chat after training about what was involved. About half way through training a couple of senior players turned up in response to what had obviously been a call for help, one of them working with a few of our better players and the other taking over the last part of Under 14 training so Walshie was free to attend to some odds and ends, which commenced with talking individually to some of our players. He began with Troy and Joey and went through the other final year players who were obvious selections for our number one team and who had played at least one previous season. It did not really interrupt the training we were doing with the guy from the seniors, but he also kept us too busy for gossip about those conversations to reach my ever-alert ears. I didn’t bat till next to last, which on most nights would mean getting the worst of the bowling, but I just took it that everybody was looking forward to the Saturday when I found I was on the receiving end of a really good work out. While I was unpadding Walshie came over to be and thanked me for what I had done to get the kids thinking cricket. “I know you are the youngest of the likely regular players in the top side, but you have been playing as long as any of them, so I’ve had a chat with the others and we all want you to be our captain for the season.” I learnt in the next few minutes why the older kids ranked Walshie so highly as a coach. I simply could not speak for quite a while, then, without looking up, I was finally able to mumble: “If you want, ok, but I’ll need a bit of time to get used to the idea.” He gave me the time I needed, suggesting we should both talk to Garth before the rest of the kids, who all by then had a fair idea what was going on. Garth was just as thrilled as I was overwhelmed and managed to wipe my face a bit in the process of a congratulatory roughing up. The announcement of teams over, without real finality on who was to look after our side, I joined Walshie and Garth for their chat about umpiring and related matters, and it was Garth’s turn to floor us by suggesting that the bit he had been doing with us had got him keen enough to want to have a hit on Saturday afternoon, but that he could not consider training with the seniors until his school year was over.

I got to Garth’s “holiday house” before the lazy sod had got out of bed, which gave me excuse to warn him that he would need to do a lot better than that on Saturday morning, and proceeded to jump all over him to roughly make my point. It did not take much of that before his point was showing under the blankets. “I see you’re pleased to see me,” I grabbed it. “I need a piss.” We went on playfully for a while without him really attempting to get up and me rubbing and tugging him a bit through the blankets. Finally freeing both his hands he changed his tack, grabbing my shoulders so we stared into each others eyes: “Cap’n.” For the first time yours truly was the subject of a word I instantly loved, but was eventually to come to hate and, much much later, finally respect. “Coach.” We both started giggling, then hugged each other’s necks and shared a sloppy kiss before Garth really did have to have his piss. Instead of coming back to the bed where I was waiting for him, he chose to get dressed in front of me, before heading to the kitchen to make breakfast leaving me no choice but to follow. Over the next couple of hours we explored countless possible scenario’s for Saturday’s game, until I noticed the time: “Shouldn’t you be studying?” “I would be if you would let it have my mind back for a while.” I was more than happy to make a move, as I planned to do the rounds of all my team-mates over the couple of afternoons remaining before our first game.

The next morning I made it to his holiday house a little later and was both pleased and sorry to see that Garth was already dressed and having breakfast. I caught him up on who I had caught up with the previous day and rehashed a few ideas, before admitting I was a little disappointed he hadn’t waited somewhere else until I got there. I took his ambivalent response as meaning he really felt the same, and took his hand and led him back to bed where we wrestled and cuddled and kissed a little until he was clearly quite aroused, at which point I undid the front of his pants and started to fondle his dick. “Are you really sure you want to do this?” “Yes,” I kissed him properly, “and I want you to do it to me.” He did, and we both before too long got where we had to get, before I set off to catch the rest of our team.

The uncertainties of our preparation for the season had clearly not hurt us as we hit the first match with enthusiasm and some pretty good form, recording a solid victory over a team which was ultimately going to finish well in front of us on the ladder. A big supply of good will got us through the early part of the season in excellent spirits, but as the other teams hit their straps we had to accept the obvious fact that we were a bit below average in overall ability. I got runs consistently but a bit too slowly, although I made up for that a bit by doing as good a job as most of our opposing adult coaches in organising the bowling and fielding places. While we talked at length on Saturday nights and a bit over the phone later in the week, Garth at no stage would consider taking any of those responsibilities from me, finding it enough of a challenge to fill the role of unbiased umpire at the same time as giving individual players a lot of good pointers on technique both during matches and at practice. I think I was even more pleased that he quickly settled in as a senior player and, with Hayden and Brice often making up numbers in the same team, I soon became a regular at our club’s Saturday afternoon matches.

My teammates’ reactions to being sold on me as captain were a bit more complex than I was at first interested in noticing. As they had been “consulted” they could not avoid maintaining every appearance of loyalty on the field, and this was helped by none of them showing any sign that they were ready to think about much more than their own individual games. The other side of the coin was that the distance between me and each of them steadily increased, and I really could not blame them, especially after the way I had been so focussed on the ten older kids in our premiership team the previous season. Aaron and Rusty who started with me in tackers and who had had a couple of games with the top side early in our premiership season quickly made it clear they saw me as a measuring stick and increasingly conveyed that as almost open rivalry. At least when they weren’t trying to compete with me, they competed even more aggressively with each other. And, despite the bonds which the season before had established with Troy and Joey, the same kind of at first playful rivalry soon came to dominate our relationship, and the rest were little different.