What I learned from… cricket

Group writing project: This post is my contribution to Robert Hruzek’s group writing project over at his blog called Middle Zone Musings. Head over there to read all about this project, and how you can participate. Have a go – it’s fun.

The World of Cricket

I am writing about the game called cricket – not the insect. If you want to know more about this fascinating game check out the Wikipedia entry here. Cricket is a game first played centuries ago in England and now throughout the Commonwealth (that is, countries that were colonised by Britain).

It is extremely popular in countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It also has a large following in places like Nepal, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Fiji and even in Canada and the United States.

Prominent players, especially in India, are treated like gods and are often multi-millionaires from sponsorship and match payments. Even in countries with a modest population such as Australia, top players are very wealthy. Always with the abundance of money there is corruption, usually in the form of match fixing.

A cricket tragic

I freely acknowledge that I have a serious problem; I am a cricket tragic. I try to watch every game televised here in Australia. I’ve been known to sit up until 3am or later watching coverage of matches from England. I’ve recorded long slabs of matches on video for playback later. I devour the sporting columns in the papers, subscribe to cricket magazines, collect cricketing books and videos and study the statistics of prominent players. I remember more anecdotes about cricketing events than I do about family events of significance. I have attended major matches both here and interstate, but not yet overseas (but give me time).

Despite all that, I cannot play the game to save myself, hence the moniker “cricket tragic.” Sure – I know all the theories about how to bat, how to bowl, how the field, strategies of winning a game and so on. My inability to put it all into practice on the field has been a major frustration in my life. [Sigh]

What I have learned from cricket

  1. You do not have to be good at something to appreciate it: I may not be able to play the game very well, but I sure enjoy and appreciate all the subtleties and nuances and strategies of the game. Life application: when someone inspires me I need to appreciate that person.
  2. Being a team member is crucial: A game of cricket, like all team sports, cannot be won singlehandedly. Sure, individuals can and do make amazing performances that “win” the match. Without the other team members it would not have been possible. Life application: do my bit for the team; I may be only a small cog but every cog in a machine is essential.
  3. Life is a marathon, not a sprint: Games of cricket can last for five days of six hours play each day – without a result. Some of these are deadly boring but in recent years I’ve seen some incredibly exciting draws played out over the full five days with the result hanging in the balance to the very end. None of the players ever give up trying, giving their all to win at all costs. Life application: success only comes through long, hard hours and days and weeks and years of effort.
  4. Life is often not very fair: It is true that the expression “It’s not cricket” means a sense of fair play is paramount and derives from cricket, supposedly the sport of gentlemen. (This is a very outdated expression from the 1800s. It never was a truism; bribery, game fixing and corruption was as rife in those days as it is today.) Players and umpires make mistakes and the result may not be what you deserve. Good players put the disappointing decision behind them and play on; poor players spit the dummy. Life application: life will deal you many bad deliveries. Get over them and get on with life.

A glorious experience

I should be fair to myself. I did have one glorious experience playing cricket. The game was on a knife edge. One wicket to fall with the batting side only requiring four runs to win. I was fielding on the boundary, some eighty metres from the wicket. The batsman hits the ball hard in my direction. It’s heading for the boundary and certain victory. Instantly I swoop on the ball and gracefully throw it at the wicket, shattering the stumps on the full and running out the batsman, thus winning the game for my side. The crowd erupts in amazement and I’m carried off the field by my team mates.

Postscript: the whole truth

Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. Sure – I did hit the stumps from that distance during a game, but was a Sunday School picnic and the game was only a social event with no scores being kept.

Sure would have been nice to have been carried off the field though.


5 Responses to “What I learned from… cricket”

  1. Trevor, cricket is one of those sports that fall into the category of “I have no idea what’s going on” for me. *sigh*

    But you outlined some great lessons learned – thanks! Just goes to show; you can learn something from just about anything – even if you never do it yourself!

    Thanks for joining us this time!

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the positive comments, Robert. Hope all goes well with the writing project and that you get heaps of contributions.

  3. Joanna Young says:

    Hi Trevor, I enjoyed reading your piece about cricket. It’s definitely one of those games you need to have lots of time for(in my experience I’d say it’s mainly been men who are able to carve out the necessary swathes of their time…) but it definitely pays off when you do invest the hours (and days) and get engrossed in the drama.

    And it’s another sport that has a great language and narrative wrapped around it (my entry for Robert’s challenge was on the language of football) – although I guess we have different national variations. Might be fun to swap notes sometime!


  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Joanna.

    Thanks for you comments. You are right about the language of sport – it is certainly part of the rich cultural tapestry of life today. Commentary on cricket – and most other sports – is both beautiful and infuriating. How some players can so butcher our wonderful language takes real skill. Footballers are even worse. And don’t get me started on the nonsense questions often posed by so-called interviewers.

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