Swedish summer top 10 – part 2
Swedish summer top 10 – part 1 here.
6. The cricket.
It’s summer time and that means one thing, it’s cricket season. And although I am not in any way a sporty person, I do enjoy cricket. I don’t really know why, but I just love it. The sound of the ball hitting the bat. CRACK. The cheer from the crowd. The drinking of beer whilst watching. The commentary. The cheating and lack of sportsmanship. I just love it.
Cricket cops a lot of crap, mainly directed at two things a) nothing really happens and b) the rules are really complicated. There are also many different forms of the game one of which can take five days and end up without a winner. So it’s long and boring and has complicated rules – I guess it is like Vegemite, to truly appreciate its beauty you just have to grow up with it.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the game of cricket, I like American writer Bill Bryson’s take on it: 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, 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.
And this year, it’s particularly exciting because it is the year of the Ashes. The what? The Ashes. A Test cricket series which has been played between England and Australia since white folk ruled the world, played biennially during the summer with England and Australia taking turns to host it. This year it’s hosted by England and so I am in the right time zone to listen.
The Ashes are best explained thusly: imagine taking a contest between two nations who aren’t local rivals, who have never been to war with each other , who are culturally fairly similar and who share the same monarch, soap opera’s and beer and are different only really different in the poisonous of their spiders and then make them play a sport that the rest of the world doesn’t really play all the time and then make it seem like the most important thing in the universe, well that is what the Ashes is.*
So it’s cricket at its finest. Australia v. England. And I’ve been loving listening to the BBC radio broadcast. There is something very special about listening to cricket on the radio. It’s a format I just adore. What I love most is when the commentary goes off on a tangent, tooing and froing between what is actually happening on the field and other more random topics. Favourite tangent topics include; the number of seagulls currently on the field, how good the sandwiches were at lunch, the cloud formations, when the new ball is expected to be brought in and whether or not it’s time for Mavis to bring up another cup of tea to the commentary box:
And here comes Agar again up to the wicket he bowls to Cook, Cook widdles this around the corner to back foot square leg … and it is the end of the over, it’s 79 for 237 now and look at those clouds coming in. And it’s Siddle again, he has gone back to his mark, he got that short mid on, very straight indeed, he is 18 yards from the bat, Siddle is in, he hits forward and it goes to Hughes there at cover who returns like a whip-cord there to Haddin and the ball works its way back on the one side with a certain amount of polishing… there are a lot of people wearing yellow in the stand on the Fox Rd side, obviously some Australian supporters there, and absolutely a full house here today and Siddle it is, he is in to Pietersen, Pietersen goes back and plays back to the on-side and thinks of a single but its not there and it’s dangerous to run , you know, risky singles at this stage … well it almost woke Cook up, yes he was having a bit of a dose at the non-strikers end, I hope he wasn’t snoring and keeping the umpire awake, Siddle walks back to his mark, gets back quite briskly, I find all the Australians get back quite briskly to their mark which is good to see but the over rate is still painfully slow here ….
This is music to my ears. There is just some wonderful lilt to it, that summer cricket brings. Well it was, until England bloody beat us, the bastards. And now I’ve lost all interest.
So yes folks, after some technical issues among other things, I’m back to blogging and will finish my ‘Swedish summer top 10’ series faster than an English bowler, but next time with topics that will actually interest you.
Are you a cricket tragic or do you just tragically lose interest the moment you realise your team just ain’t gonna win?
*Stolen from the podcast ‘The Greatest Test’.