Sean McPartlin - We Have A Dream

03 Feb

The 1982 football World Cup in Spain is generally remembered positively by Scottish fans – at least until the moment where Miller and Hansen collided and gave the Soviets the goal which let them qualify instead of us. One of the contributions to that feel good Summer was an above average ‘World Cup Song’.

“We have a dream” – a collaboration between songwriter/producer BA Robertson and Gregory’s Girl star, John Gordon Sinclair, reflected the secret ambitions of all who support their side in sports events. 

For all my whole hearted commitment to Cricket Scotland, I don’t normally dream about the squad (Thank goodness for that. Ed) but, with the start date for the Cricket World Cup fast approaching, I have to admit to their intrusion into my sleep a couple of nights ago. 

Somehow, our heroes in blue became mixed up with the current round of Golden Globe and Academy Award speculation, and I dreamed a dream where Preston Mommsen and the lads were on stage receiving congratulations for “Best Promotional DVD of the Year.” 

Luckily, perhaps, before presenter Meg Ryan hugged the whole team, and the skipper made his thank you speech, an excerpt from the DVD was shown, and my dream  turned in a slightly more realistic and relevant direction. 

The DVD, it turned out, was basically a ‘showreel’ of all of Cricket Scotland’s best moments in this year’s World Cup matches. Well edited and presented (Well done, Toby Bailey, Ben Fox and Colly!), it was a fast moving and exciting montage of great cricketing action in matches featuring some of the best cricketers in the world. 

There was Maj, claiming an all time wicket takers’ record for Scotland with some unplayable spin, Leasky putting a couple of straight drives over the bowler’s head for six, Calum MacLeod following up an imperious century with breathtaking catches on the boundary, Wardy and Ali Evans wrecking opponents’ plans with disciplined and accurate opening spells, Josh Davey and Richie Berrington dazzling with bat and ball, blistering pace from Safy, Matt Machan with belligerent strokemaking, Rob Taylor nicking wickets and runs,  the skipper and Kyle Coetzer wearing down the bowlers before launching into powerful blitzes on the attack in mid-innings  Crossy with stumpings so quick that slow-mo has to be employed for an accurate view, the style of Freddie Coleman and the  strokeplay of Hamish Gardner, run outs from all parts of the field, featuring splayed wickets and stunned opponents.

Set against the background of knowledgeable Antipodean crowds, and stunning grounds, it was a great advert for the game in general and Cricket Scotland in particular.

However, the award was made for ‘promotional expertise’ – meaning it was what was done with the DVD that made it special. 

With support from the ICC, Sport Scotland, our kit suppliers, and major sponsors, copies of the DVD were sent to every Active Schools Sports Co-ordinator in Scotland – and to our School Sports Ambassadors. They would thus be available to every school in the country.

A lifetime in teaching tells me that when there is staff absence, or sport facilities are unavailable, PE departments inevitably turn to DVDs – especially if their classes are being covered by non-specialists. The World Cup DVD would be  a godsend to departments,  and something new for many pupils. 

The offer with the Cricket Scotland Showreel would be that, as part of its viewing, or shortly afterwards, local national squad members, or leading members of neighbouring clubs, would visit the schools, there would be coaching, and question and answer sessions, and a free “Cricket Scotland World Cup” tee shirt or hoody for all who attended, plus details of how to take part in cricket in the area. Promotional offers for entry to international fixtures this season would also feature.

All of this, of course, would be in addition to all the excellent coaching and promotion already being provided around the country by the development organization and by club volunteers. The pupils would be given international heroes to promote their ambition to take part in cricket or to follow the national side. Stars to emulate are a major component of sports promotion these days – and what better tool for promotion than a national side on a truly world stage? 

The key to following up the World Cup for Scottish cricket is engagement with young people, widening the core following, and demonstrating the exciting abilities of our own internationalists. In 2015 we have the chance to accomplish that.

None of us know how well the team will do down under. They are coming together nicely and, on their day, will give any opponent a tough game. What we do know is that they are competing at the highest level, and every member of this squad is capable of exciting cricket in the One Day format – be it strike or spin bowling, inspired fielding, belligerent or classy strokeplay, or all round team effort. A well made DVD  demonstrating this to youngsters around the country would be worth its weight in gold as far as promoting the game and the national team across Scotland is concerned. 

Then, as my pupils invariably ended their essays, “I woke up – it had all been a dream.” 

Aye – but dreams can come true…….good luck, lads!

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