Miles Kington: This is becoming a year of seasonal sporting confusion

You could take shiploads of cricketers down the other side of the Equator and play cricket in what was their summer and our winter
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The Independent Online

There was a time when all the seasons were neatly divided, at least along sporting divisions.

We knew that cricket took place during summer, and football took place during the winter.

Oh, and rugby did, too.

Athletics took place sort of all the year round, but that did not matter too much, as drugs took place all round the year as well.

There were encroachments on this arrangement, in a minor kind of way, when it was discovered that you could take shiploads of cricketers down the other side of the Equator if the weather was nice and warm down there, and everyone could play cricket in what was their summer and what was our winter.

Then this year there was a strange blip in the system when it was discovered that the Africans were playing their very own big African Football Cup during our winter and their summer.

It was also discovered that skiing was going on in our winter most of the time. Well, not exactly discovered, but it was realised that most of the time there were places in Europe with consonants very close together (eg Gstaad) and also vowels very close together (also Gstaad, curiously) where people got together to ski and to do winter sports, one of which, at a place called Davos, was to sort out the future of the world, which doesn't sound like much of a great world winter sport to me, though everyone assures me it is a good bona fide winter sport. And great fun, because at any moment you can adjourn the session and start it again whenever you like.

Oh, and they named cigarettes after Davos as well.

Or am I thinking of St Moritz?

Or is St Moritz all part of après-ski, that other great section of winter sports?

Never mind, because by a strange coincidence I found that none of this impinged on me at all, as I have

a) never skied in my life at all

b) never discussed the future of the world at any meaningful level at all

c) never worried about the impact of winter sports on the future of the world at all.

d) never named a cigarette off my own bat

e) never worn a blue shirt.

Why should wearing a blue shirt affect my life?

Because I have suddenly become aware how many people I know do wear a blue shirt seriously in the sense that they go up and down their rooms during the week, saying, "Oh God, what are we going to do without Didier Drogba?".

Didier who?

Didier Drogba, of course!

The Ivorian.

The what?

The African footballer from the Ivory Coast, who may just be the finest footballer in the world at the moment, just as Diego Maradona used to be.

Diego Maradona?

The man from Argentina who used to be so frighteningly good that when he scored a goal by allegedly handling the ball against England, no one ever said that he had cheated but that God had scored for him, or rather, the "hand of God" had scored for him.

Yes, him. That one.

Chelsea are the team that wear blue shirts, by the way.

Hence their nicknames.

The Blues.

Are you with me still?

Incidentally, at the time of going to press, the host nation, Ghana, are still in the contest.

So are the current holders, ie the team which won last time round.


As indeed are the Ivory Coast.

Remember them?

That's them.

The ones that Didier Drogba plays for.

What I can't help you with are the current leaders of the African Winter Sports Tournament.

Maybe that's because there isn't one going on.

Gosh – that would be a relief, wouldn't it?