ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 23, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 43

The days that were

These three days are almost not a part of the rest of the 365 days of the year. They are special.

By Ms. VIP

The 'Big Match' fever hits most parts of Sri Lanka during the month of March. In fact, these matches mean everything not just to the 22 cricketers directly involved in the game but also to all those involved either directly or indirectly with the game. And being able to represent one's school at your respective 'Big Match' is really something to be proud of.

And the Battle of the Blues is quite a game on its own. Having being going for it for quite a number of years, one thing I have noticed is that it is not tough in the least to understand why this match – which even World War I and II could not put a halt to – is so very well known. Not just for the guys from these two schools, but everyone else present, and of course us ladies who go for the match too!

One thing is for sure though – it is not all about the game of cricket being played in the middle of the field. And in fact, there are no real rules outside of the playing field. The Battle of the Blues creates an atmosphere of a three-day-carnival and is also said to be the second oldest cricket match in the world, and in fact is a game older than even the Ashes Series.

This year was the 129th Battle of the Blues and it was held from March 13 – 15 at the SSC grounds and two of my closest lady friends and I made our annual trip to the SSC for this fun-filled but at the same time, competitive historical encounter.

Apart from the obvious male species at the match, there are also many females - young and old – and the reasons for their presence can vary: Like, your dad being an old boy of either school, or your brother or some relative being, or someone significant other in your life being in one of the schools. But if that is not the case, you can just come and be a part of the atmosphere anyway.

For me, it is a good excuse to take a break from my hectic daily routine, and that aside, most of our friends are from one or both of these schools. Romances blossoming and even becoming successful to the point where they meet their life-long partners at the Royal–Thomian, is yet another highlight of the match…

The Battle of the Blues, it seems, even forms a part of the Sri Lankan identity for some. If I ever have to leave the country at some point in my life, I know I'll try my level best to fly back to Sri Lanka to be a part of it, like most people do!

Another thing I've noticed is that during these three days, there are no boundaries. It is as though everyone has some sort of special immunity from everything that we would normally not tolerate. Take for example my friend – on the final day of the match this year, a guy she barely knows dragged her along the Upper Grand Stand and started ballroom dancing with her. Normally this is not something she would allow, but it being the Royal–Thomian, she let it pass!

It is almost normal for some guys to simply approach you and strike up a conversation or ask for a dance or a peck on the cheek, all of course, in their high spirits! Their brave streak suddenly kicks in during these three days but particularly on the last day of the match. And we too let our guard down and just go with the flow! So guys, you are not alone on this one!

It is still however, probably one of the biggest social outings of the year. And when my friends and I see the young girls and guys at the matches these days, we reminisce on what we thought and did at that age.

The excitement they feel is really something tough to describe. At the Big Match, no one really has a care in the world and it's nice to see people not worrying about reality for those few hours. The atmosphere is really out of this world and you have got to be there at least once in your life to witness this event because there actually isn't another like it.

This year's match did not have a result as the weather God's decided that the skies needed to open up. And boy did it pour! But nothing dampened the atmosphere because at the end of the day, it is the unity and fun and the memories that we have, as we walk away from the SSC that really matters in the end.

In spite of not being from either school, for obvious reasons!My friends and I have a fabulous time cheering for the Blue Black and Blue or the Blue Gold and Blue, and being high in spirits and dancing to the energetic music of the papare band.
In fact, three days just don't seem enough at the end of it all.

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