Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weren't you wearing protection ?

Managed to sneak the following exclamation out of someone at work a couple of days ago :

"Pete - weren't you wearing protection ?"

With the mucky parts of my mind immediately going to naughty connotations of that instead of the innocent explanation of showing off the bruises. (They're far more spectacular now too than they were Thursday)

I'm pretty sure I've talked about the protection cricketers wear before (and after I'm done here, I may go peeking to remember what I wrote) and it had this picture with it :
That's the protective gear I currently have and, if you also include shoes and knee pads, it's all I use. There's a fine balance between having too little protection and having so much that it gets in your way.

There's a fair bit of other kit available for batting, things like chest guards, arm guards, thigh pads. But I don't use them. I've used an arm guard in the past and been hit heavily on the arm twice. But all the arm guard did was get in the way. Both times I was hit, it missed the arm guard :

Wrist - it hit my watch and smashed it (cheap n nasty Timex)
Elbow - numbed the lower arm, possibly chipped the bone

A thigh pad (a cushion stuffed down your trousers) may have been handy but with my chunky legs ... it ain't gonna fit. At least not with some of the pairs of whites I have. I've always rejected chest protectors because they'd interfere with my breathing too much.

The best protection is always : "Get outta the way". And wearing too much gear will slow you down to the point where you will get hit when you'd have otherwise got out of the way.

Fielding is a bit different. I've always had weak knees (legacy of rugby at school and muscles that developed before joints) so I wear knee protection. I think this is actually one of the causes of the leg infection last year, because the new ones were too tight. The knee pads are also there to give padding when I let cricket balls bounce off my knees. Trouble is, for the two hits Wednesday and Thursday, the padding wasn't in the right place.

That's the "too much" vs "just enough" again - you could go out there like the Michelin man but if you can't run, you're no good. Because of the damage to my shoulder, the only advantage I have on the field now is my speed. Too much protection would slow me down to the point of being useless out there.

Helmets are similar - the first batting helmets were effectively motorcycle helmets. For cricket, that's no good because you need to be able to hear the calling for runs. I.e. miss the "yes", miss the "no", miss the inevitable "sorry".

Think that's enough for today. I'd consider wearing shin pads on the field and they may just have saved the superficial (but spectacular) bruise on my right leg. But for the one on my left leg, it would have hit between shin pad and boot. I.e. too much protection for too little benefit.

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