Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Decline and Fall of the Caribbean Empire

Throughout recorded human history, there exists a circular nature to the rise and fall of the great or powerful civilisations. This can be thought of as a series of stages, listed below, that describes the path each major power takes in their rise to supremacy and eventual ruin.

From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From great courage to strength
From strength to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to leisure
For leisure to selfishness
From selfishness to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependency
From dependency to weakness
From weakness to bondage

For the Roman Empire, the cycle took somewhere - if you use the same death rattle as Gibbon - a little over five hundred years. For the West Indies, a complete circle looks likely to be complete in less than fifty.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Pietersen, again.

"Relationships don't work the way they do on television and in the movies. Will they, won't they, and then they finally do and they're happy forever. Gimme a break. Nine out of ten of 'em end because they weren't right for each other to begin with and half the ones that get married get divorced anyway and I'm telling you right now through all this stuff I have not become a cynic - I haven't ... Bottom line, couples who are truly right for each other wade through the same crap as everybody else but the big difference is they don't let it take them down. One of those two people will stand up and fight for that relationship every time".

I used to really like Scrubs, back when it was as about an accurate representation of a hospital as has ever been shown regularly on US television. (And when the writing/overarching plots didn't stink, so, if you're counting that's about to the end of Season 3). While being funny in many different ways, it also had the uncanny ability to drop truth bombs like a veritaserum-charged cluster weapon. The quote above from Dr. Cox is one of my favourites.

Ten years ago, Kevin Pietersen and the England and Wales Cricket Board decided to commit to one another in a very real - and legally binding - sense. Ten years' shared property and escalating spats over which account pays which bill dutifully followed. When each party could complain to their mates about the other no longer, we all got to experience thee long-expected divorce, one in which the ECB retained sole custody of Alastair Cook and Pietersen kept the loyal-but-crazy family terrier.

Both went into this star-cross'd tryst expecting the other to mellow in response to their charms. Neither ever truly appreciated just how far apart they were on some - or indeed most - issues.

The pair fell out once and for all because they just weren't right for each other in the first place. Pietersen was always too outgoing/free-spirited/much of a wanker for a cricket board renowned for conservatism, uniformity and unleashing Chris Tavare on the world. As much as they may have spooned in public early on, their romance was almost certainly due to end poorly: the ECB wished Pietersen would curtail his silvertail tendencies, while the player just wanted his hem-hawing spouse to get off his back and let him be the man they fell in love with. 

Thirteen or so years after Dr. Cox indirectly predicted it, when each side felt they had compromised enough, neither was willing to take the first step towards reconciliation and risk losing face.

Love disappeared long ago, probably when each side realised they couldn't change the other enough to tolerate coexistence; nor was it worth anyone's time trying. Pietersen and England weren't right for each other in the first place, but mutual success made them (temporarily) brush aside most major concerns until there was simply too much detritus surrounding them.

The ECB will move on, and likely marry someone not quite so ostentatious, less of a good-time guy - but still someone who might have the talent to average 40 or 45 at Test level. Like his buddy Shane Warne, Pietersen will be seen with every flash young thing able to provide him with an ego boost and a quick cheque, starting with the Delhi Daredevils and the Melbourne Stars. 

The accounts are separate and the kids are starting to get to know Mum's new "friend", Gary. But the offspring of this flawed marriage won't ever forget the good times.