Brian Masaba talks about where it all started for him

Brian Masaba talks about where it all started for him

Run to the canteen/shop, Buy another tennis ball, Smash into little bits with whatever tool was available. Repeat. This is how it started, this rollercoaster of a ride with cricket. Having just joined Ndejje for secondary school, it was customary to seek a niche into which one would fit. For some, it was mischief,others music. For me, it was football until I walked past a group of fellow newbies engaged in a strange game. I was hooked,line and sinker.

The construction of the HSC dormitory provided a ready source of planks of wood that would be fashioned into bats of all shapes and sizes-we had specialists for this(Mukasa Rashid,you Legend) maize cobs,tennis balls,stones and any object that could be projected became the fodder and a few broken windows are my witness.

Under the watchful eye of Mr Ssenkunja (bless his soul), some basics and rules of the game were imparted bowling actions were straightened out and batting grips refined to accept proper bat handles and not the death grip that was required to manoeuvre wood planks. Knocking over a senior player's stumps (Kato Ivan missed a gentle straight one) got me onto the school team for cricket week in my form two. Running in from the thirty yard mark at that age took me months to get to the crease,probably the reason I picked up some wickets,batsmen got tired of waiting for me to arrive.

Cricket week was a big big thing back then. MACOS was the place to be,mixing it with the big boys of Mwiri,Jinja SSS and Buddo. These were cricket royalty and the whispers that would follow when one of the stars walked by,after hearing of their great exploits that day,were testament to that fact. A Mwiri-Jinja ss clash was akin to a gladiatorial contest,blood,guts and glory. We of the group stages had the best seats in the house always. The cricket week select side that played a Chairman's XI full of national team stars was the stuff of my dreams.This mouthwatering game crowned the tournament usually and being selected for this team meant you had officially arrived, I never arrived for that matter.

Captaining the school team in my later years albeit briefly,gave me a taste of how different it was to lead AND play, especially if you had a couple of jokers on the team,whose only ambition was a free pass out of school on Sundays.These are responsible members of society now whose names i shall not slander I see you guys,though. Coach Benjamin Mukasa did an awesome job getting these ragtags to actually qualify from a tight Kampala division pool my everlasting respect to him. Inspite of never winning cricket week,let alone making the semis, these formative years laid a platform that has served me well to date.

I'll never regret that walk down to the football field that took me past that group of chaps playing cricket. This romance continues.