What it Was, Was ……. Cricket

Cricket
BobLee
January16/ 2017

What It Was, Was ……. Cricket ???

If that opening phrase – “What It Was, Was …..” doesn’t cause you to think about “a big orange” ….. AndyGriffith“convicts” and “kicking that pumpkin around the cow pasture” then not much about today’s insightful column will make sense to you.

It was a young Andy Griffith’s classic 1953 monologue about a young country boy seeing his first college football game. Presumably it was Kenan Stadium post-Choo Choo since Griffith attended UNCCH, graduating in 1949.

What it Was, Was Football.

***

QUICK ASIDE…. Hey, wasn’t that Packers v Cowboys game A HUMDINGER? From a pure back/forth nailbiter to the final play not unlike Clemson v Alabama last Monday. If you simply “hate Jerry Jones because…” then you loved the outcome. Not sure if there is anyone who simply “hates The Packers because….” But there probably is since everyone is hated by someone these days. …. Hard to imagine more High Drama between high profile teams and big name players than last night’s game.

***

So a week ago I woke up at 3:00 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep so I turned on the TV. Who knew…. at 3 AM ESPN shows Australian Cricket matches. I watched for 30-45 minutes with absolutely no clue what was going on. I imagined how Andy musta felt in the Fall of 1953.

If you had asked me what I knew about Cricket before I watched that morning, I woulda said:

“some sort of team “ballgame” played in Merry Olde England and “the Pacific Rim” and other places Cricket 2far outside my realm of familiarity. …probably spread across the globe by British imperialism when Britannia ruled the waves et al….   Some sort of hybrid between baseball / croquet. They dress like croquet players …. Use some kind of wooden bat/paddle to hit a “croquet ball” thrown by a pitcher who runs up and bounces the croquet ball at the guy swinging the bat/paddle. There are little wooden pedestal things – “wickets” – behind the batter that serve some obscure purpose.

The pitcher’s team is spread out in a wide circle sorta the size of a baseball field, but different. No clue how they score points or the objective of either the offense or the defense…. I believe I read once that games can last several days in places like India, Pakistan and whatever Burma is called these days.

After watching for 45 minutes I still have no clue to any of those questions. They were playing in a modern circular stadium seating, it appeared, maybe 25-30,000. There was a play-by-play guy and an analyst speaking “Australian” which is a version of “English” but containing so many “Aussie-idioms” that they coulda been speaking Swahili for all the good it did me.

I assume that Australian Cricket fans “hate certain announcers because….”; like fans of each sport “hate certain announcers because…..”. I find that very odd.

The players all appear “normal size”…. Soccer / baseball player size. They wear long trousers and short-sleeve shirts and ballcaps. When the “batter” hits the ball the other team tries to catch it (with bare Cricket 3hands…. no gloves of any kind). The ball looks like a croquet ball but it is probably more like a lacrosse ball…. Hard rubber of some sort.

Yes, I can go to Google for “All you need to know about Cricket and more…” and I might do that. Since I love baseball, maybe I can broaden my sports interest to include Cricket?

It occurred to me as I watched at 3 AM with zero clue what was going on…. How unusual it is to have a team sport NOT being played on a rectangular playing field with teams defending one end while attacking the other end. How many team sports can you think of NOT played on a rectangular field of play …. football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, polo (??), lacrosse, rugby, hockey, tennis…. Baseball is the only one that is not / that I can think of.

The comparison of me at 3 AM watching a Cricket match to young Andy Griffith watching his first Football game hit me immediately. What I was watching made no sense to me whatsoever, nor was it incumbent on the announcers to explain it to “any of you out there who have never seen a cricket match.” Joe Buck nor Vin Scully doesn’t do that each game.

I assume there are amateur and professional leagues for cricket… and their best players make beau coups of $$$$ and are idolized…. and their political opinions some how “matter” to their fans. No doubt there is betting on games.

Don’t know if Australian or Pakistani colleges recruit “semi-literate 18 y/os” to play cricket for their fat cats who are obsessed with having bragging rights over their acquaintances.   Probably.  I did not see spandexed skanky gals cavorting on the sidelines, but cannot say they weren’t there.

I came away from my 3 AM experience with a renewed appreciation for how diverse our planet is as far as the recreational and spectatorial interests of its inhabitants.

Would I prefer to watch Cricket or other similar Not-American sports and thereby broaden my general sports awareness …. or listen to endless ESPN talking heads push CEO John Skipper (UNC’75) ultra-liberal political agenda on me?  What do you think?

I will probably try to learn more about Cricket…. “because”.

###

“Saving Western Civilization from Itself” is over-rated.  

I shoot for one “I told you so” each month.”  – BobLee  / 2016

 

BobLee
  • Wolf Blizzard Reply
    3 months ago

    Obama’s uncricket like final act:

    Breaking Fake News: ESPN – Washington, DC

    In an eleventh hour executive order, former President Barack Obama pardons North Carolina Men’s Basketball Coach Roy Williams for all NCAA violations and academic eligibility fraud from 1975 to 2525. Thus ensuring that for centuries to come, tens of thousands of uneducated American youth can realize their dream of receiving paper degrees from the University of North Carolina.

  • wolfdon Reply
    3 months ago

    I was a freshman at State in 1955 when I attended a football game in Kenan stadium between UNC and Maryland(I think) and was pleased to see Andy in person recognized at halftime for his recently acquired fame and accomplishment. A pleasant memory.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Although he (AG) became quite a curmudgeon in his last 20 years, he is still much loved as a UNC Alumni.

  • Doug Reply
    3 months ago

    Maybe the trick is to learn the aspects of at least one sport to be able to fully understand what is going on and at the same time make a conscience effort to not learn anything at all about the various personalities, political leanings, religious beliefs, behaviors away from the game, sexual orientations, etc of those involved in the competition. That’s how I follow cricket and rugby. Probably not good if you’re a BM or seeking good column fodder. 🏏🏉

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Having a vested / emotional connection to either team and/or the players is a factor too. “Not caring who wins” may not be so important. I didn’t care who wins with either Clem/Bama or GB/Dallas but loved watching the games.

    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      Conscious effort. Mrs. Spears just rapped my knuckles with a ruler.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Mrs Spears was one of the “nice ones”.

  • Bob Kennel Reply
    3 months ago

    BL, from whence did the sardonic BatGuano return? It is the real me, and I proudly display the cricket bat in my den.
    YOU should have more certitude about who your real fans are.
    Was at George Whitfield’s baseball bash Friday night where Chris Comb’s was one of many being honored. Someone slipped behind me and stage-whispered ” Well Bob Kennel is BobLee’s biggest “fan”. Didn’t recognize the voice, but it was Prince Albert in the Long Can.
    By the way, who else can I count on more than Porgie? 😎

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I ALWAYS check the e-address on your comments. I knew that one was YOU. Do not know Mr Guano but he seems acquainted with The Kennel Legend among Wuffs. Prince Albert tried to get me to go (again) to George’s Shindig but we were vacationing at Emerald Isle. I assume the seats in the GHS auditorium are as comfortable as they have been for 75 years?

  • Colonel Batguano Reply
    3 months ago

    I can’t tell a parody Kennel post from a genuine one.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      That is always a problem. I THINK this a real BK … maybe … 🤡🤡

  • myowngrandpaw Reply
    3 months ago

    When you watch these “major” foreign sports that are played sparingly in the US, you should get an appreciation of how Americans can take a sport that is fairly simple and create a rule book the size of the entire set World Book Encyclopedia. Also, Americans make sports so expensive average kids have a hard time obtaining the proper equipment. The NFL(I assume an offshoot of Rugby) and baseball(an offshoot of cricket). Basketball actually, and proudly, invented in the US.
    And admittedly, the entire world has contributed to increasing the rules of GOLF.

    The soccer rule book is a leaflet with 12 basic “laws”. Same with rugby, cricket, and hockey.

    I have played both rugby(one season, no serious injury, quit while in one piece) and cricket(twice) to mainly learn the basic rules. Very simple. Although the two times I played cricket, I never ONCE put the bat on the ball. Never even saw the ball, just heard it hit the wicket. In rugby I spent the entire time running for my life. I must admit, rugby is a very polite sport as they maul you.

    The point is, in America, a sport will never be a major sport if the sport does not have a voluminous, hard to understand, set of rules. And each piece of equipment has to cost more than $100.00. Hockey is an exception. My kids nearly broke me playing roller hockey. Can’t imagine extra cost for “ice time”.

    Basketball falls in the expensive category too! Air Jordans, tights, arm sleeves, and tattoos.

    I strongly believe that cricket was invented to help insomniacs like you to get back to sleep!
    Watching a batsman “foul” off 100 pitches(bowls??) without anyone running anywhere, tough to stay awake. At least when you wake back up hours later, it will still be in the same “inning”.

    I strongly recommend you travel to Poole Rd to watch the Vipers(men) AND the Venom(women) at the Raleigh Rugby Club complex. Especially women’s rugby, I assure you it will be entertaining! Then head to the Church Street Park in Morrisville for cricket. The fans will LOVE to tell you about their sport, so be prepared to never be left alone after asking someone just one question.

    They are commercial free! No one in a red shirt will walk on the field and hold up the game for five minutes.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Is the smell of curry heavy in the air ?

      • myowngrandpaw Reply
        3 months ago

        Don’t know about the curry. Yet to have been to a match. I had to ask an Indian co-worker who’s husband is big in the Morrisville cricket world where the field was. Cricket field is right behind their house.

        I will be going someday. I work with people from India. So I am always pressured to go.
        Hope to see you there. I am sure your Cardinals shirt will be appropriate if you feel the need.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 months ago

          Let us know if they offer a Cricket For Dummies sheet with the basic rules. I think a cricket field is pretty large… about the size of a baseball field.

  • thailand Reply
    3 months ago

    About that polo tradition–Just make sure the divot is not steamy (from Pretty Woman) 🙂
    _______________________________________________________________________

    I’ve seen a few cricket matches piece-meal over the years–but still don’t have a firm grasp of the rules.
    My wife and I went down to Hastings one afternoon during a trip to England and happened onto a match. I spent a few hours watching, fascinated with the quickness of the fielders and how adept they were at making acrobatic catches. I also chased and retrieved errant balls for them. We sipped tea for a while before a “bloke” offered us a bottle of ale. Very pleasant. The ball is dense and can really put bruise on you.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    I sometimes catch an Australian rules football game and enjoy that for a while, but haven’t really pursued an understanding of the game. Do like that ref who runs under the goal posts to signal a score. I think they changed his uniform though–liked the old-style white Rudyard Kipling look.
    _____________________________________________________________________________
    Listening to a sportscaster from down under reel off a commentary of the latest matches of cricket, rugby, Australian rules football for me is akin to following a Wall Street trader rattling off a barrage of arcane puts and calls and etfs, etc., or a techie querying me on my new lap-top’s features (curse those liberal arts courses at State :-).
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Beach bunny volleyball here still an eye-stopper though. A SE Asian stereotype?
    __________________________________________________________________________________
    From Pattaya
    Thailand

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      In ESPN’s very early days they covered Aussie Rules FB… I remember the dude in the long raincoat waving flags under the goalpost. I do intend to learn more about Cricket.

  • Bob Kennel Reply
    3 months ago

    BL, love your willingness to expand your horizons. Cricket is indeed longer duration and difficult to understand the subtleties, much like baseball. My only experience was in 1959 at the U. of Melbourne, Australia where we played pickup cricket everyday at lunch on the roof of the Physics building. When I left at the end of the school year, my Aussie friends gave me a cricket bat autographed by Sir Donald Bradman the greatest cricket player of all time. He was Australian and lived from 1910 to 2001. I’m sure that bat is worth something but no interest in finding out. Get someone to tell you what a “sticky wicket” is, something like TGU.
    Also tell Porgie to keep the faith!

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      “Expanding horizons” is a lifelong quest like ordering items on a menu one cannot pronounce. That bat is likely hiding in your hoarder’s attic.
      .
      I suspect Porgie is not the only malcontent re: Gott’s boys these days. But he does have a history of finishing strong.

  • cuz Reply
    3 months ago

    As you probably remember Andy taught me my freshman year in Hi School. 1948.. This was before
    His football message I think

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Yep. That was 1950-51-52. He recorded WIWWF in 1953.

  • The Expatriate Reply
    3 months ago

    You live and learn. That sounds like a job for someone from somewhere like aTm. Not an ol’ poor boy from somewhere east of College Station.

  • The Expatriate Reply
    3 months ago

    Heavens! Do you mean there’s more to polo than a participant trying to stay on a run-away horse, swing a long-handled mallet and hit a rolling ball somewhere around the horse’s hooves? Without hitting someone in the head or, worse yet, getting your ownself hit in the head?

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Between “chuckers” the spectators walk out on the playing field and stomp down the divots from the ponies’ hooves. It’s quite a sight !!! 😳

  • The Expatriate Reply
    3 months ago

    Never saw a cricket match. But your piece and the comments evoke memories of poor-as-a-church-mouse days as a lowly PFC making the world safe for democracy act Fort Jackson. I moon-lighted at The State newspaper and regularly got passes to the Sunday afternoon polo matches somewhere outside Columbia. The wife du jour and I never really caught on to what was happening, but learned the importance of the designation “10-doal players” and even saw several do whatever it was they did. We loved it. The fact that we couldn’t afford much other entertainment probably helped. Have not seen a polo match since those long0-ago days. Not even on TV. And especially not at 3 a.m.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Did you participate in the polo tradition of “stomping down the divots” ? 🤠

  • Porgie Reply
    3 months ago

    Maybe we can have BK suggest to Debbie that Cricket be added at NC State. After all, it would be a non-revenue sport at which we seem to somewhat excel now. The top coaches at NC State in no particular order are Moore, Holloway, Popolizio, and Geiger. FB might get a mention. As for MBB, ask Giglio and DG their opinions. Sad as it currently is, I was there last night and plan to be there again tomorrow night. Sigh!! ‘Thank you sir, may I have another.’

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Now Porgie…. DD had a rough early season but finished strong. But I will pass along your suggestion to BK. 😳

  • Barry Reply
    3 months ago

    There is something quite pleasant about watching a sporting event or other competition when you have absolutely no idea what the rules are, or in fact what is going on. (Some years ago I went to a circus where the ringmaster delivered all of his commentary in Spanish. I enjoyed myself hugely.)

    In re cricket, I have worked in Morrisville for the last several years, and the city government here recently built a municipal cricket pitch for the citizenry. People have visited from all over to check it out, including, recently, some very impressed Australians.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Hasn’t Morrisville sorta become Mumbai South? I saw where there is a Triangle Cricket Club. I agree that watching something you neither know anything about nor have any emotional involvement with is a rare pleasure.

      • Barry Reply
        3 months ago

        There is a pretty significant South Asian population here. I enjoy the stores and restaurants here, and the folks I’ve met seem like good neighbors.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 months ago

          “South Asian”??? I’ve never heard any stereotypical criticism of “them”.

  • rivlax Reply
    3 months ago

    Had a friend in grad school who was on the national youth cricket team in high school, so I heard a lot about it from him. Also have a best friend who lived in South Africa for six months as his wife was consulting on a project there and got hooked on the game, attending many in person when he wasn’t touring the many wineries. He’s tried to explain it to me, too, but despite both of them, I’m as clueless as you are about the game.

    • rivlax Reply
      3 months ago

      I neglected to add that my grad school friend was on the AUSTRALIAN national youth cricket team. Important point.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Must be some kind of secret fraternity handshake thingie … Do they have “the designated hitter” and/or infield fly rule ??

  • Doug Reply
    3 months ago

    I attended several matches during when we lived in Africa. Both sons played school cricket. The ball is very hard and heavier than a baseball. Catching a hard hit ball really stings. I learned enough to enjoy watching but never did grasp the terminology. Scoring 4 runs is roughly the equivalent of a ground rule double in baseball when the ball bounces into the stands. Six runs is a “homer” The are no foul balls. 360º of the field is in play. The batsman protects the wicket – the three stumps behind the batter. If the pitcher (bowler) hits the wicket, the batter is out. A good bowler uses different ball spins like a baseball pitcher. 11 players are on each side. A Test match is similar to a tournament and can last up to 5 days. Never went to a test match. If someone wants to know more please note that I done told about all I know. The mainly English speaking Caribbean countries in our hemisphere are cricket addicts. Consuming copious amounts of gin & tonics does little to increase understanding but saying cheers every so often and wearing a cricket style hat makes you at least look like you might know something.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Pretty much what I figured. I will explore more. 🙂

      • Doug Reply
        3 months ago

        I was watching a one day Australian match on NBCSHD last week and saw my first ever winning walk-off 6. The closest thing to a pure cricket hate match that I’m aware of is when India and Pakistan tangle.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 months ago

          I think the losers get beheaded in that one.

      • Alan Reply
        3 months ago

        So I will chime in with super limited knowledge. My son and I sat down and watched a friendly club match in England when we were visiting England. I picked up a ball that made it to us and threw it like a baseball back to the pitcher. I heard several gasps as the ball took its gentle one hopper back in. I guess that should not have been done that way. Shrug. The baseball player son and I just looked at each other.

        We bought a Slazenger ball at the local sporting goods store as a souvenir. It is two-piece leather wrapped. It is almost, if not exact, the same size and weight of a baseball and very hard to tell the difference with your hand. It has a single raised seam around its equator that is a little wider that a high school baseball seam. Seam height is like a high school baseball. It does feel a little harder. Knowledge bucket is empty now.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 months ago

          I sense a lot of limited knowledge out there …. 😛

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      3 months ago

      Doug,
      Sent your post to my Navajo Code Talker, Clint….Spirit of the Light. He emailed back….WTF? You have stumped him. I admit to waking up at odd hours and finally find a 300 series (Sports on TWC in Raleigh) channel and watch whatever seems to be on that has some competition. Usually a good way to get back to sleep. Can’t figure out if my old body is telling me that it is no longer comfortable or the fact that my little Prostate Dofitchy is missing and I need to go tinkle so as NOT to wet the linen.
      Often times my brain gets on a kick and refuses to let loose of a subject or there was a problem that was puzzling me and I am still trying to come up with a solution. Usually there is none, like why is the Pack MBB playing like it is…Technically there is a Solution. Arrest and Extradite Bobby Lutz. When he left, he took the ONLY copy of our Defense Play Book with him. Coach Gott never missed it since he never read it. DEFENSE is NOT in his vocabulary, unless it involves a lawyer in domestic court.
      Good explanation though of Cricket….I will have to be on the lookout for it….Thanks,

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        BK admonishes one/all to keep the faith. Who knew that NCSU is now a “girls’ basketball school”.

  • wolfbuff Reply
    3 months ago

    I think you meant some “kindly” of team ballgame.

    Interestingly, I introduced this (and his Romeo and Juliet skit) to a group of guys who’d never heard it just this past weekend. “What it was was Football” is played at our tailgate before the first game every season at the Carter. [Yes I knew it is supposedly about a game at Kenan]

    I have watched a little cricket over at a Beigeville ballpark one Saturday morning. And even had some Indians try to explain the game to me. I still don’t get it either. But it sure is fun to watch, much like some of the obscure sports I only get to see every 4 years during the Olympics.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      There is also some sort of soccer/rugby thing that Afghan tribesmen play on horseback using a dead goat for the “ball”. I saw it in a Rambo movie.

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