Congratulations to Australia on their well-deserved Ashes whitewash - we played poorly for the most part with the odd purple patch - but Australia played consistently superb cricket, with the self-confidence and sheer joy in the game that meant you had to smile, even as they were qiqqing your qarse. They played like a *team* who took real pride and pleasure in their own and eachother's achievements and who knew how to work as a well-oiled unit, not like eleven individuals each playing to his own drummer, no matter what the team needed. However well we played, the Aussies were playing for the team and their country as well as themselves, so they were always going to raise the game that extra notch. Hats off to you, boys, even if they aren't baggy greens!
Their 20/20 performance today was testament to that love of the game - not only did they play this 'kickaround', as Mark called it, as if it were the world championship, they played it with the intensity and cheek of kids on a playground - their shirts all had their nicknames on the back - Punter, Church, Huss (I agree with the folks who think Hussey's nickname ought to be 'Brazen') but they still went out there and knocked a record 15 sixes and 221 runs off of 120 balls...all for a 'kickaround'.
In doing that, they gave us a few lessons about how to live our lives - like we're playing the world championship, but with all the love and joy of kids on the playground. Match practice makes you match fit. Play every match to the best of your ability - even the kickarounds - and the series will take care of themselves. Never give up hope, no matter how unwinnable the match appears to be. Know when to take risks and when to bide your time. To have a swing, you have to stay at the crease. Take every opportunity, no matter how small, and the big ones will follow. Remember that it's a team effort: stop to nurture and applaud others along the way, and when something needs doing, work as a unit.
And don't forget to enjoy eachother and have a few beers when you get a chance - because friendship, joy and love is what it's really all about.