What It Was, Was ……. Cricket ???
If that opening phrase – “What It Was, Was …..” doesn’t cause you to think about “a big orange” ….. “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.
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 far 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 hands…. 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