Wednesday, February 7, 2007



i had the joy (along with 50,000 others) of watching the Australian cricket team play the other night.  they were playing New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - a holy site for many Australian sports lovers.  i had such a great time at the game and i cherished every moment as cricket is one of the treasures i miss since living in the US. 


for all you sceptics out there (and you know who you are) here is famous travel writer Bill Bryson's outsiders take on the great game...

“After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn’t fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don’t wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players (more if they are moderately restless). It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to centre field; and that there, after a minute’s pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt towards the pitcher’s mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle sixty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs he is under no formal compulsion to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.



Maria Kenney said...

I don't suppose that his being the chancellor of my PhD institution means I can claim any role in his being the funniest damn writer in years...? No, probably not.

james said...

Are those people in the top picture wearing Urban Sombreros?

geoff and sherry said...

yes indeed....they are sombreros. thousands of people wore the big hat at the game in an anti-authoritarian gesture because the 'mexican wave' had been banned. apparently too many 'yobbos' (rednecks) had been throwing things in the air (food, water, beer, etc.) as the wave went around in previous games. so anyway, it had been banned but such a 'law' was a red rag to a bull and the crowd took the banning as a signal to do it more. the authorities had tried to arrest "anyone starting the mexican wave" but the yobbo is too clever for that. people started the wave by standing on the their seats and waving to people in the next row of seats, and eventually this ritual evolved into the traditional throwing-arms-in-the-air-mexican-wave. mass civil disobedience ensued and you can read the fall-out here:

WITWATW said...

If only we could harness the strength of the yobbos for the good of mankind! Not that i don't just love a good mexcan wave. What where they thinking to ban it????? Probaably just needed the media attention. the cricket has been a bit of a bore of late. Those aussies need a good shalaking.

Dick said...

I don't know if this is the same Bill Bryson/author who wrote "A Walk in the Woods, Rediscovering the Appalachian Trail", but if so, I would put little credibity in his comments on cricket. His AT book was very funny, but with many inaccuracies and hardly descriptive of the AT experience that I had in my hikes.