You always know that the cricket season is coming to an end when the footie starts
In truth, there's a lot of cricket still to play, but the advent of the live commentaries always make you look ahead to the long winter nights and the hope that you will get home to hear of a signing by Derbyshire.
I still support Derby County and hated every minute of last season, but I'm less interested, much less, than I used to be. Dad and I were season ticket holders at the Baseball Ground from 1968 to 1976 but since then we've gone only occasionally.
Cricket started around the same time but my love for the game has grown with the years and I loved it from the start. It is probably something to do with footballers being, in my humble opinion, overpaid prima donnas who are so far removed from the man in the street that its scary. Cricketers are still decent guys who will happily (in most cases) have a word before or after a game. Could you honestly see Ronaldo stopping to chat about the state of the game like Steve Stubbings or others? Or Paul Jewell walking through the crowd and chatting about the way things had gone like John Morris.
Now this is where I get controversial. You see, I no longer look at the 606 boards for football as it is pathetic. My team's better than yours, your side are full of fat no marks - honestly, its as if most contributors share brains and they've all left it in the park. Sack the manager, get rid of that player - the hatchets are out for Paul Jewell after a defeat to an offside goal yesterday.
Cricket fans are generally more understanding, probably because they have a greater appreciation of the game than football. For one thing, its a harder game to understand so needs a level of intelligence that is - how shall I put it - not always the preserve of a footie fan. Don't get me wrong, a lot of intelligent people follow football, or both sports, but its not the hardest game in the world to understand. You get it in that goal, we get it in this one - that's pretty much it. The offside rule is the concession to intelligence (and few, including officials, seem to understand it).
I've played club football and hated it, only lasting for a season. Games were often regulated assaults on individuals and the language, threats and behaviour was pathetic. By the same token I've played club cricket for 35 years and loved every minute, more now than ever when I'm part of a fantastic club and I realise that I've more behind me than ahead.
I love to go to a cricket match and chat with someone from the other team about the respective merits of the sides. If you did that at football and to the wrong person, it could be an excuse for violence. Trust me, I've seen it. I can go to see Derbyshire play in Glasgow with my club baseball cap on and have a good laugh and plenty of banter. I wouldn't go in there with a Derby County top on, that's for sure.
I've been hit four times when batting in those 35 years, thankfully never on the head, and the concern from the opposition was quite touching. I've been kicked up in the air at football and been told to get up - accompanied by a fair amount of invective.
So I hope that the cricket boards don't descend to that level or there's little hope left. A couple of times this season I've complained about a comment and its been sorted quite quickly, once with a retraction and once with being deleted. I'm all for free speech but really don't see myself going on the Notts board this winter and saying how rubbish they are, while hoping none of them are silly enough to go on ours.
For the winter I intend to post an occasional blog - when there's something to write about - and keep in touch with fellow fans on the excellent In Morris We Trust board, linked on the left of this page. Here is an oasis of calm where like minded Derbyshire fans can swap thoughts, be irreverent without getting personal and plan our next step to global domination next year.
OK, maybe I lied about that last bit...
But you never know!