Sport Lived Experience: Cricket in Melbourne

Words Rahim Akram

Melbourne, the 2nd most liveable city in the world (although, it should be 1st!) And the sporting capital of the world. I was about to take a step into the unknown, going half way across the world to play a sport I've loved since I was a kid, cricket!

Upon arriving in Melbourne, I was met by Jessie, one half of the Melbourne Sport Lived Team, the other being Kathy! Jessie had clearly done this before as he knew how to handle a miserable and tired young man who's just stepped of a 20+ hour flight! It was a short drive from the Airport to our apartments, where one of my flatmates, who had arrived earlier, was waiting! Gradually through the day all the other participants began to arrive. The first challenge was seeing what everyone was like, and the group I was with was outstanding, we all got along (I hope!) And we always would look out for each other, folding each other's washing etc. You're living with these people for a long time, so you have to at least try and coexist with who you're living with.

The day after we landed, most of us had training. I was playing at South Yarra Cricket Club. The first session was held at Junction Oval, those familiar with state cricket in Australia, this is where Victoria play and train for their state competitions. The indoor facilities we're among the best I've trained in, naturally I was very apprehensive, but gradually everyone began to shake hands and introduce themselves, and soon I was put at ease. They take training here seriously, you train twice a week, and can sometimes play two games in a weekend, so you don't feel as if you're missing out on the cricket front. Cricket in Australia is different from the UK in many factors, the most notable to me was the fact that at club level you could play 2 day games, the teams I played in (A Reserve, A Grade and C Grade) you would play occasional 45 over games as well as the 2 day games, so you get a good balance of both formats of the game.

As well as Cricket, Kathy and Jessie also organised great social events for us in our spare time. My favourite was the mini golf, all being sports players in the apartment, anything of that sort was always going to bring our competitive nature out! Also the added bonus of gift vouchers for the winner made it that little bit more competitive. Other socials included the Melbourne Star, which is like the London Eye, and takes about half and hour but gives you a stunning view of not just Melbourne, but also the countryside of Victoria. We also went to one of the most renowned sporting events in the world, The Melbourne Cup. The trials and tribulations of placing money on horses and consuming copious amounts of alcoholic beverages, resulted in money well spent should I say.

To any customers thinking about doing Sport Lived, I would say do it. Speaking as someone who was so against coming and so nervous about dropping my life back home and taking the risk of playing a sport half way across the world, I could not have imagined it going any better than it has!

The people I lived with, the people I've met, the experiences I've had were all worth the risk. Huge thanks to Jessie, Kathy, Matt, Karen and everyone at South Yarra for the best experience and time I've had in Australia!

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