Maybe I’m getting too old, but a day at the cricket at the Gabba is nowhere near as much fun as it used to be.
When the Gabba was redeveloped in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the sacred patch of grass known as the hill went into history. That area on the western side of the ground was replaced by a concrete stand with wall-to-wall plastic seating.
The ground lost a lot of its soul and character then as well.
The Gabba hill was a place where you could stretch out, relax, drink full strength beer, watch some cricket, or even have a sleep late in the day if you needed it. And for those seated in the stands, when the game out in the middle was meandering along, you could always rely on the hill to provide some entertainment.
It wasn’t always a barrel of laughs if you were on the hill itself of course. Lining up for your shout to get beers was a marathon trip, and occasionally tempers would fray towards the end of a long day under the hot Brisbane summer sun.
Usually not much damage was done though. The paddy wagon was always nearby for any blokes who’d had one too many, and 99 per cent of people on the Hill were just there for a good time and knew what to expect.
If you still have a hill at your city’s major cricket venue today, be thankful. A patch of grass among the concrete provides some choice for spectators and attracts characters – something that is generally lacking from the modern day Gabba crowd experience.
Sporting events these days are very corporate and family friendly, which is fine, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of creating atmosphere. You can still have the best of both worlds – family friendly areas as well as a hill.
What are your favourite hill memories, either at the Gabba or any other cricket venue?