How Cricket, Cars, and Horses Shaped My Childhood

 *This is a collaborative Guestpost 

Many believe our childhood experiences shape us into who we are today.

It’s kind of funny when you think about how random places and obscure objects can unlock a treasure trove of memories. I’ve always found comfort in the nostalgia evoked whenever I think about my childhood. 

Unlike many others, I can confidently say that my childhood was a happy one and I am grateful for every event that took place in it.

My dad played a big role in helping make some of my favourite childhood memories and inspired many of my passions today. He was an avid fan of various things and I often ended up pulled along for a ride as he explored his interests. 

Join me on a walk down memory lane as I reminisce about some of the moments that shaped my childhood and made me into who I am today. 

On the Field

One of my earliest memories consists of being unwillingly dragged to The Oval by my father one bright sunny summer’s day. 

I was only about six at the time and the last way I wanted to spend my Sunday afternoon was at a boring old sports stadium watching a game I didn’t even slightly understand. However, my dad felt quite differently.

I can still vividly recall the look of child-like joy on his face as the players entered the field. He was a massive fan of the game and he wasn’t afraid to show it, and still isn’t if I’m being completely honest.

Sporting his favourite team member’s cricket shirt, a plastic horn in hand, he proudly yelled out cheers with the crowd. My dad has always been a rather enthusiastic man, but cricket lit a spark in him like I’d never seen before. 

Ever since that first game, he only continued in his attempts to convert me into a cricket fanatic. While initially annoying, I will say that when I actually played my first game of cricket, I was pleasantly surprised. 

For a game I had grown to detest, I was surprisingly good at it. From arriving early enough to see the complete synthetic cricket pitch installation from scratch to staying until the very last over, all those years of watching from the sidelines truly paid off. 

With my dad being my loudest supporter, coming to cheer me on at every game, just as my dad always had, I soon grew to love the sport. 

Beneath the Bonnet

If you know my dad (I’m guessing you don’t), you would know that he’s always been a man of many passions. Alongside cricket, when I was around fourteen, he developed an affinity for cars – BMWs to be exact. 

The fascination with BMWs got to the point that he even ended up purchasing one for himself. Second-hand, of course. Yet, he loved that car. Sometimes I even thought he loved it more than me.

On Friday evening, he would always take my mum and me out for a little drive in his shiny new BMW X5. I may not always have wanted to go on them, but I remember having a fun time nonetheless. We would drive to the beach, the park, and even the zoo one time.

Besides driving the car, my dad loved working on his car on the weekends and as usual roped me into it. As a fourteen-year-old teenage girl, you can imagine I wasn’t the most thrilled to spend my Saturday nights scrounging the internet for the right BMW parts in the UK or a specific brand of tyres he just had to have. 

Nonetheless, once I accepted that this would be the norm for the foreseeable future, I soon developed an interest in fixing cars as well. Thanks to all those late nights working on my dad’s BMW X5, I had more knowledge about how to fix a leaky engine or do a quick oil change than any fourteen-year-old ought to.

It was a sad time when we bid farewell to our dear 2005 BMW X5. However, I assure you its replacement, a sleek 2010 BMW Z4 was just as cherished.

In the Saddle

My dad might have inspired my fascination with cricket and cars. However, horses and horseback riding, in particular, had always been my dream. Ever since I was a young girl, I always wanted a horse to call my own. I think I might’ve even written to Father Christmas about it.

Yet, despite my many many years of pleading, a horse was just too much of a financial burden for our family at the time. Little did I know, my dream was about to be realised sooner than I could’ve imagined. 

On the night of my sixteenth birthday, my parents came to me with a wonderful and entirely unexpected surprise – horse riding lessons! I was absolutely ecstatic and couldn’t wait to have my first lesson. 

When I arrived at the farm, I instantly dashed to the stables. It had been years since I had last seen or ridden a horse and I was about ready to leap into the saddle. Luckily, my father held me back just in time. 

As soon as I entered the stables and my eyes met Chestnut’s, a connection formed between us. I didn’t even need to look at other horses, I was sure Chestnut was the horse for me. 

After getting a handle on the theoretical basics, I was finally allowed to ride her. Wouldn’t it be amazing if once I sat atop her back we just instantly clicked and became a natural riding duo? Well, back down in reality, my first ride wasn’t exactly the smoothest. 

Sure, I was able to hop onto the saddle pretty easily, but actually riding proved to be a bit more difficult. Chestnut kept abruptly stopping and I for the life of me couldn’t keep a firm hold on the reins. There were plenty of hiccups in those few months, but after a few riding sessions, some grooming experiences and a bunch of destroyed cordless horse clippers, we got used to each other’s quirks. 

A few months later, we even took part in a couple of races. We were a team and after ten long years of riding with Chestnut, I was finally able to make her part of my family and formally adopt her.

The Final Notes on My Childhood

Well, while my childhood hobbies may not have been very ordinary, I enjoyed them a whole lot. 

My husband and I still go out to an odd cricket game every so often. In fact, my son, Martin, just picked up the sport a few months ago and I can’t wait to see him play his first game.

We might not have a BMW anymore, but I still enjoy working on my old Skoda Octavia from time to time. Moreover, with all those nights in my dad’s garage and the skills in my toolbelt, I’m confident I won’t ever need to call roadside assistance. 

Chestnut’s been slowing down a bit, but the years have been kind to her and I look forward to growing older alongside her. You never really know how much you’re going to miss your childhood until the years fly by and it’s well and truly gone. That’s why you ought to cherish it and make memories that last a lifetime.

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