Eulogy for Mike George
About 25 years ago a Welshman on a bike arrived at VRA, our cricket club in the Amsterdamse Bos. On his back an funny shaped duffel bag made of Egyptian camel leather. Enter Mike George. A cheerful gentleman in a leather jacket sporting a broad smile.
Mike turned out to be a true club member, playing cricket as a good all rounder for both Saturday and Sunday teams. He played all mid-week fixtures, and as a member of The Zamigos he played lots of friendly matches, up to almost 50 matches in 1 season. In doing so he tipyfied himself as the epithomy of the social cricketer. After each match he showed himself a true club member who made friends with everybody, culminating in long post-match hours on the VRA balcony, quaffing ales, acting as part of the club furniture.
Although slender in stature, he exuded authority. As a captain he took his time but never underestimated the power of social cricket, providing opportunities for players of all strengths. He ensured that everyone had a fun day on and off the field, although his erratic field placing occasionally caused uproar amongst the fielders.
Mike played a connecting role at VRA. He bridged the gap between the expats and the Dutchies. Not as mediator or negotiator, but simply as Mike the socializer. Mike always glued the ZAMIs together.
Mike was “present” before, during and after the match. He was a social lubricant; he chatted with everyone, and had a great influence on the atmosphere with his cheerful character. He could speak and sing as easily as he could dance or tell jokes in the style of Dave Allen.
In his glory years he was a player who could make a difference. He understood the game like no other. As a batsman, he was smart, cunning and decisive. Opening the batting, with his hobby shots in a flurry of square cuts, getting more half centuries than anyone else but never boasting about his achievements. As a fielder, his contributions were slightly less substantial and he wasn’t so light-hearted as he could dance.
Strategically and tactically, Mike knew his theory. In practice, however, as captain, he was often inscrutable. His game plan seemed locked in his brain and it was often guesswork as to what was going on in that head. He often seemed to be in another dimension. After stumps Mike was able to analyze the match like no other. As an archetypal adjudicator with that typical English sense of humor combined with his razor-sharp observations of the most comical kind.
As mentioned, Mike lived in a brown leather jacket and subsisted on a diet of beer, cigarettes, red meat and fries. Fruit and veggies were not for him. Only a good night of R&R dancing could keep Mike away from cricket. And indeed, during club parties Mike lured many lady members onto the dance floor for some fancy footwork.
When we were in his home for lunch he served herring, eal on toast and other delicatessen that Dutchies love so much. Of course the humonguous TV screen showed cricket all the time and we had many blissful moments enjoying the hospitality of a man who loved Amsterdam without being able to speak more than 3 words in Dutch like TWO BEERS PLEASE. Because he always wanted to share, typical for his warm personality: positive and interested. I think he was the first member @VRA who started hugging people as a way of greeting.
We will miss Mike as a cricketer, but even more as the beloved friend he was. For us cricketers he will always stay NOT OUT and STILL IN. As we do as cricketers after a fine innings… when the batsman comes out… we clap for him as a Last Hurray. Well played Mike!