I sat down last night to watch the first day of the first Ashes test, full of hope and anticipation of England retaining the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in over 20 years.
Andrew Strauss’s dismissal in the first over and a hat-trick from Peter Siddle left me feeling that this Ashes series is likely to go the same way as all the other recent contests in Australia.
No time to be downbeat or defeated though as the series will play out over 5 tests, 25 playing days and 6 weeks. This is the first day, so there’s plenty of time for the England team to come back victoriously and send the Barmy Army into wild celebrations with no doubt plenty of versions of Swanny’s Sprinkler Dance!!
I’ve no doubt the Barmy Army will do their bit and the Sprinkler Dance this winter will rival Peter Crouch’s robot dance from the World Cup of 2006. But who will get their hands on the Ashes urn? Common sense tells you that regardless of all of England’s thorough preparation, the Aussies are just too efficient on home soil and Ricky Ponting will hold the urn aloft in 6 weeks time.
There’s been a lot of talk building up to the series and millions of people are glued to the action that unfolds, but you can’t help but notice that the prize they are playing for is stunning in the sense of how small it is. When you consider many of the most well-known trophies in sport, the Ashes urn seems ludicrously tiny. The Champions League trophy with it’s ‘big ears’ stands at 25 inches, the Stanley Cup with it’s four tiers is believed to be the biggest trophy in sport at 35 inches – the Ashes Urn is a mere 5 ½ inches tall.
So what this does show is that it’s not the size of the prize that’s important, but more what the prize stands for. Anybody can create a new tournament, France could decide to take on Austria each year at Table Tennis, they could play for a 45 inch cup but would anybody take any notice? It’s unlikely to get mentioned outside of the ping pong circles in mainland Europe!!
Trophies are all about the achievement they represent and not purely the size of the award. The smallest trophy in the 2011 Challenge Trophies range is 4 inches and the largest is 23 inches. Who can say which of these will be hardest fought for and mean more to the recipient. There is one trophy though in the Challenge Trophies offices that stands a whopping 44 inches tall. We’ve always resisted all offers for it as it’s something of a lucky omen to us. This may never be hard fought for in a sporting sense, but you would have a battle on your hands to get it away from us!!
So does size really matter?!!