Nineteen sixty-eight was a good year for Yorkshire cricket. Geoff Boycott and Ray Illingworth were fixtures in the England Test side. In his final season with the county, Fred Trueman captained them to an innings victory against the touring Australians. And five minutes from the end of their last championship game of the summer, Yorkshire clinched victory against Surrey to win their third title in as many years, their sixth in a decade, and a record 30th overall - twice as many as the next most successful county. For those looking to find it, there was plenty of evidence of how important cricket was to Yorkshire, and how important Yorkshire was to cricket.
That was also the year of my birth. For a Yorkshire supporter that's about the worst timing imaginable. It meant I was a babe in arms when the Championship was won that year, and all of 33 before Yorkshire next claimed the title. For three decades I could legitimately claim to have waited a lifetime for Yorkshire to become champions once again. But it wasn't just the length of that wait that proved so frustrating; it was also how far the club had fallen in the eyes of the cricketing world during the intervening years.
By the time I was old enough to spend much of my summer holidays at Headingley, Yorkshire was at an all-time low. Boycott had retired from Test cricket, and no one else at the club had the talent to replace him as a regular in the England side. Arguments over whether he should also be replaced in the Yorkshire team spilt the club apart, distracted and drove talent away, and ultimately made Yorkshire the laughing stock of the English game.
In 1983, for the first and only time, they finished last in the County Championship. As other counties took their pick from the best players in world cricket, Yorkshire stuck stubbornly to an outdated "Yorkshire-born-only" policy. We were trying to compete with one arm tied behind our back, and the other arm wasn't particularly strong either.
For older supporters, whose feelings of entitlement had grown fat during the glory years of the '60s, the lack of success was hard to accept. I'd hear them in the stands, telling tall tales of how the batsmen of their day always found a gap in the field, the bowlers maintained a perfect line and length, the captain was as tough as an army sergeant-major, and how the players of today couldn't hold a candle to any of them. It doesn't take long before tales of past glory grow wearisome for those who weren't around to share in the riches. Like young West Indian supporters of today, part of me was fed up of hearing about what I had missed. I wanted heroes of my own.
By the time the Championship drought was ended in 2001, those new heroes had been found. Darren Gough was already a senior member of the England Test team. Michael Vaughan and Matthew Hoggard joined him as they began their own international careers. An end to the "Yorkshire-born" rule meant we had Darren Lehmann, the most destructive batsman in the county game. When allied to as good a group of seamers as at any time in our history and led by another uncompromising captain, David Byas, the Championship was won in the style of old. They were a fine side and one that, if they had possessed slightly stronger batting resources, might well have won the title multiple times.
Yet somehow the Championship title of 2014 feels sweeter, even if the wait for success hasn't been quite as long. With Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Liam Plunkett missing for most of the summer on England duty, Yorkshire have once again been competing with one arm tied behind their back, yet this time the strength in depth has been there to not only win the title, but to do so with a series of crushing victories inflicted by a side largely made up of home-grown talent.
Providing players for England, winning the Championship, producing a conveyor belt of young talent; it feels like Yorkshire have learnt to be Yorkshire again.
Whether this side can go on to win multiple titles is hard to predict. There are several other members of the squad who must be close to England honours, and there's only so much talent a county can cede to the national side and remain competitive. But even if this team manages just the one Championship, I know that in 20 years' time I'll be able to regale young supporters in 2034 with tales of how Adam Lyth and Jonny Bairstow always found a gap in the field, how Ryan Sidebottom and Steven Patterson bowled the perfect line and length, and how Andrew Gale was the archetypal, uncompromising Yorkshire captain. And if they're smart, those who listen will do what I did back in my youth when the old bores start to reminisce: smile, take what's said with a pinch of salt, and wait to find heroes of their own.
Dave Hawksworth has never sat in a press box or charged a match programme to expenses