I say this knowing that millions disagree. All around the world, cricket-playing nations abound. People pay money to go to matches, sit in the hot sun for eight or more hours and watch men dressed from head to toe in white smack a ball with a bat. On the other side of the globe, people who are interested in the outcome get up at four in the morning so they can watch on TV. For myself, I don’t get it. Cricket is the kind of thing I turn the TV to when I can’t get to sleep.
Case in point: right now, Australia and England are locked in battle for the Ashes, series of matches that we apparently fight over every year or couple of years – I’m not 100% clear on the details, as my care factor is pretty low. I do know that it’s Test cricket, as opposed to One-Day cricket, and what that means is that a match lasts multiple days. Five Tests are played over six or so months, I think, in both England and Australia, and even if one side wins the first three Tests, they still play all five, which to me is just plain mean.
Anyway, I actually have a point to make here. I was hanging out with my brother and his wife at their place, and my sister-in-law and I were working on a jigsaw puzzle while my brother watched the cricket. They’ve been married for nearly two years now, but they’re often still like newlyweds so my SIL kept coaxing my brother to join us. He was adamant that he had to watch the cricket. I waded in, mostly just to annoy him, and pointed out that a colleague had told me that cricket wasn’t even a real sport. That got him all fired up, and he spent a few minutes telling us how important cricket is to many nations that would otherwise be at daggers drawn (my words, not his) and that the game had many nuances which were not at first obvious (his words, not mine). I’ll take a moment to point out that the match was in play the whole time we were talking, and it didn’t seem like he was missing much. My SIL and I were not impressed. “What kind of nuances?” we demanded.
It was unfortunate for my brother that at that precise moment one of the British commentators said to another, “What was your breakfast like this morning?”
My SIL and I started laughing and couldn’t stop. It seems to me that a sport should be fast-paced enough that commentators don’t have time during play to talk about anything except what’s happening on the field. My poor brother shut up after that. There wasn’t really anything that could be said about those nuances that would balance out the breakfast discussion.
What do you think? Are there sports out there that don’t deserve to be so named?