A while back Leslie expressed her love for baseball while claiming it might be of little interest in this sphere. Being someone for whom the sport means only Peanuts cartoons my curiosity was piqued, so I challenged her to give us the essence of baseball in a post guaranteed to send us scurrying for our nearest diamond. Whatever that is.
If she failed to come up with the goods, I warned, I'd explain cricket to her. And so far, no ball. So here it is. A post about cricket.
Cricket is a game played by a bunch of blokes who wear white clothing and stand around in a big field1. The object of the game is for each side to take it in turns to nominate a set of blokes armed with wooden clubs (the "batsmen") to defend a set of wooden sticks stuck in the ground (the "stumps") against an onslaught from a bloke from the other side (the "bowler") throwing a ball while the bowlers mates (the "fielders") try to catch the ball after the batsmen have hit it. There are all sorts of rules and positions on the field with funny names like "Deep backward square leg" and "Silly mid off", but that's not important. If you really want to know, look here.
The only thing you need to know about cricket is that it is the most civilised sport on the planet. It is never played in bad weather, it stops neither for commercials or for cheerleaders but only for tea, in its purest form a match lasts for five days and even the most fraught of matches have completely mixed and friendly crowds. The slow pace means of course that if you are hoping for quick-fire action you are going to be disappointed, however it offers something you'll get from no other sport of which I am aware. If you enjoy nothing better than sitting out in the sun with your mates drinking weak beer and talking rubbish then being a cricket fan gives you the perfect excuse to do it for five days in a row. There is even the occasional thing to cheer on the field, and if you haven't got a clue what it was don't worry, neither have half the rest of the crowd. They've been asleep.
Talking rubbish while ostensibly watching cricket has even been turned into a cult art form by some of our broadcasters.
1Your scribe was made to do rather too much of this when a lot younger. Beautiful place to do it in, deathly boring thing to do. If you want to foster enthusiasm for something in Da Yoof, that's not the way to do it. Sitting in the sun with your mates is fun but playing it? You have to be joking!