Come in number six...
Posted in Volunteering
I arrived at the hotel opposite Lord's 15 minutes before my shift started to get my accreditation. A short time later I was flashing my pass and being frisked on the way into the ground. Media Centre here I come.
Once I met up with the other volunteers people were already being assigned tasks such as carrying boxes or standing at gates helping with tickets and security.
Not wanting to miss out on the good action I asked: “Shall I make my way over to the media centre?”
“No,” the supervisor replied.
"But would you be OK to help me with the players' bags?”
“Yeah, I should think so,” I cheerfully replied.
So the morning was spent greeting the South African and Sri Lankan teams off their respective coaches and carrying equipment up to their dressing room. A brilliant start to the day.
“Can you guys go and stand on the road that leads from the tube station to the ground? We need you to direct people and answer questions.
"Where is the ground?" "Can I buy a ticket on the gate?"
An hour later and I had made my way back into the ground and was tucking into the first class spread they laid on for us. Steamed fish and vegetables, with quiches, fresh fruit and many more delights to get stuck into. Forget curled up sandwiches, this was Lord's
Eager to impress I found my supervisor and asked for another job. “How would you feel about being sat just behind the dugout radioing up to the announcer?”
This was a top job. I would be responsible for everyone in the ground knowing who the incoming batsmen were and who was bowling from the Pavilion End. I would get to sit directly behind the team benches and be able to watch the whole match as I would need to know what was going on.
First I had to go and get the England and West Indies bags as they were just arriving. After a couple more stints at the buffet and a little crowd control at a ticket stand I soon wound up sat behind the team proudly wearing a headset.
As I settled in for the match I radioed the opening batsmen’s numbers over and then ten seconds later my intel was being announced to the stadium. I tried to go one better and also give the bowler’s number, but his number wasn’t visible.
A couple of overs went by and there were no changes in batsmen so I was on the look out to deliver the bowler's number. This was trickier as the players like to play catch during the transition of an over so you are never quite sure who is gearing up to bowl. This time, though, I suddenly felt confident. Number 45 was stood in the right place with the ball, he was also vigourously rubbing it up and down his leg. I was ready.
“Number 45 is the bowler. Number 45 is the bowler.”
I waited for the announcement.
Then at the last minute, the players decided on another game of catch and suddenly number six was bowling.
“Correction, number six to bowl...”
I was broken mid-stream as the tannoy system kicked in and the announcement came across.
I held my breath.
"The next bowler for England will be number..."
Please say six, please say six. I almost adopted the foetal position in my seat as I sensed the inevitable incorrect announcement was on its way.
Disaster and embarrassment averted. I should have know it was too big a step up from baggage handler to announcer.
Lord’s was awesome and a massive experience that I am really grateful for. Working at a major sporting event gave me a massive buzz and I really looked forward to every shift. If you have never done anything like this all I can say is do it, you’ll love it.