Scorecards

“Scorecards”

I’m fourteen years of age, its the summer months, the rugby league season has finished and so has my one hour per fortnight job of selling programmes that earns me as much as my mates earn stacking shelves in supermarkets for eight hours.

“Scorecards”

The summer months are the cricket season at Headingley, three and five day matches where nothing happens and the ground half fills with lonely men who just want to get out of the house and sit on hard wooden benches all day sipping from plastic glasses of flat warm beer.

“Scorecards”

They don’t have programmes at cricket matches, they have scorecards, A4 sheets of white card on which are printed the names of the players of the two teams with room for you to note their scores and room at the bottom for you to note what the bowlers have done.

“Scorecards”

You buy a scorecard as you walk through the turnstiles at the start of the day, 11am the game starts, I stand at the back of the Kirkstall Lane turnstile from 10am onwards selling my way through a huge wad of scorecards which have been hurriedly printed on a portable printing press contained inside a big truck that parks in the Taverners Suite car park, the beauty of this system being that they can wait almost until the gates open to print the team, and they do, the ink is still wet as I sell them and some of the ones that I sell are already smudged and my fingers are black.

“Scorecards”

Jesus Christ this is a boring job standing at the entrance flogging bits of card to mug punters who look as miserable as can be, no-one looks cheerful when they’re coming to a cricket match, spectating at a cricket match is about as low as you can go on the ladder of spectating achievements for spectating at a cricket match requires no input from you other than to find a comfortable wooden seat that might just catch a few rays of sun that day while you catch a nap.

“Scorecards”

And now the game has started and no-one comes in the turnstile any more. now comes the worst part of the job, for now I have to walk around the ground selling the bloody things, and theres four of us selling most days so we just follow each other around the periphery of the cricket pitch mumbling “Scorecards” to the dateless looking spectators who all bought a bloody scorecard when they came in anyway.

“Scorecards”

And the worst bit is that there is a space about twenty yards wide at either side of the ground called “behind the bowlers arm” where, if you move when the bowler is starting his run up, the batsman will stop the game and shout at you to stop moving, and then the whole crowd will wake up and shout at you too.

“Scorecards”

Normally its the old codgers who sit “behind the bowlers arm” because they just sleep all day long and never move anyway, but occasionally you’ll get some daft old bint sitting in that section who’ll want to buy a scorecard off you because they were too dim to notice you at the turnstile when they entered the ground.

“Scorecards”
“Here lad, I’ll have one”
“Oh fook, he’s sitting behind the bowlers arm”

And you’ve got to be quick and he’s got to have the right change ready because if you’re stood in the aisle counting his change when the bowler starts his run up then the batsman will stop the game and you’ll be the idiot in the ground that everyone shouts “SIT DOWN” at – it happens to me four or five times every day.

It gets worse after dinner for after dinner the portable printing press prints another scorecard with that mornings scores updated on it, and you have to walk around the bloody ground again selling the same scorecard again to the stupid spectators even though they bought it from you just that morning and actually marked the scores on it themselves, they seem to prefer one that just been freshly printed to the one that they’ve marked up themselves, even though by now they are still wet and very smudged with my inky fingermarks.

“Score fookin cards hate-this-fookin-job”

Ten per cent is what they pay, ten per cent of the takings split between how ever many of us there are, eight hours work for three or five days of being stared at by the same tired old faces, one day to the next.

I’m fourteen, I need the money.

I bought most of my LP’s through the summer from my scorecard money. I bought my loon pants with my scorecard money, I bought my lager brewing kits with my scorecard money, I was rich beyond my wildest dreams at fourteen years of age with my scorecard money.

“Scorecards”, think of the money

“Scorecards”

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