Sunday, May 24, 2009

Like baseball without the bases or the hotdogs or the friendly slapping on the backside

Yes I am moving house in just over one weeks time which is why I spent most of yesterday at a cricket match. I may be blocking just a little. Actually some friends invited us to a local match and I am determined to make time for friends in this next week. Plus it was a beautiful day and far too nice to be indoors taking inventory of our forks and knickers.

Cricket is a tad complicated and that may just be a giant understatement. For starters, everyone is dressed in white…in most sports players on opposing teams are at least wearing different colours or letters or something. And I guess it is the mother in me who couldn’t help but think about the laundry that follows a game…all that very crisp white worn for a game played on grass. Oh my.

If you’ve never played cricket or you didn’t grow up in a country whose national game is cricket then it is essential to attend a match with someone who did. We attended with our friends, G and A. G is Australian and has played the game so he helpfully explained as we watched. His wife, A, is actually from Florida and went to Auburn but we don’t hold that against her…have I mentioned our love of Tennessee football?

Cricket is actually a very civilized sport...not a lot of cheering and shouting, more like dignified clapping from the fans. I think that’s because the games are sooooo long it’s hard to get the crowd worked up into any kind of screaming frenzy. The match we attended began at 11:30 am and at 2:30 pm the first team was still at bat with 206 points. That’s right…three hours into the game and the first team up is still at bat. And it’s not because they didn’t have any outs but you need 10 and there are ten ways to get ‘out’. I think. Like I said you need a tutor to make sense of this game.

Cricket is played on a pitch (field) which is not a diamond, more of an oval. There is a batter (batsman) and a batter’s box (the crease) and a pitcher (bowler) and umpires who do not wear black and white stripes but instead wear white coats and hats and look a bit like the butcher at our local supermarket who wears a remarkably similar uniform.

The players in the field do not use mitts…they catch the very hard ball with their bare hands. It’s gotta sting. A lot. The ball is red and the landscape is green so big white screens are put up behind the bowler so the batsman can discern the red ball and not get smacked up side the head (which, incidentally is not a British expression). There are two wickets on either side of the pitch. The wickets are three wooden posts called stumps, with spikes at one end which are hammered into the ground just close enough together that a cricket ball cannot pass between them. There is a crosspiece sitting on top and this is called a bail. Incidentally the umpires remove the bail when the teams are not on the field. This keeps overly enthusiastic fans from taking home what would be a great souvenir. A bowler attempts to knock the bail off the wicket with his pitch. I think. (see paragraph above regarding a tutor) The players do wear shoes with small spikes but they don’t pat each other on the bum (a British expression) like baseball players.

Speaking of expressions… I missed my Wednesday word post this week because I was busy moving furniture at my daughters, and hauling 20hundred boxes up and down stairs did something to my brain to the point that I couldn’t remember my own name let alone comment in another language. And yes, technically we speak the same language but if you read my Wednesday word posts you will know that is not entirely accurate. Anyway, there are a few expressions heard here that originated with cricket. You may not have heard the expression, ‘a sticky wicket’ unless you live in England but I’ve heard it and I like it. Essentially it means a tight spot. How about the expression ‘bowling a maiden over’…this is more or less a no hitter but there could actually be a hit, just no score. (Again, see paragraph above about needing a tutor). My favourite expression though has got to be, ‘I say, that simply isn’t cricket.’ And I’m pretty sure this must be said with a posh accent. Do we use the word posh in the states? I honestly can’t remember. The expression ‘simply not cricket’ means ungentlemanly behaviour. I already mentioned that cricket is a civilized sport. I mean we don’t break for lunch and/or tea in the middle of a baseball game do we? I love a sport that breaks for lunch and tea. And Pimms. They sell Pimms at the match.

Pimms is a summery drink garnished with lots of fresh fruit served at summertime parties, Wimbledon, the Henley regatta and cricket matches on warm, sunny English days. And it is refreshing and it is delicious. And civilized. Like cricket. And life in England.


  1. Sounds like a fun day, even if you don't understand the game. LOL!! That drink certainly looks refreshing. You were like me yesterday, Adelaide and I went to the pool and I totally forgot all the problems at hand and the stuff that needed to be done at home. We all need much needed rest and relaxation. Glad you had a great day with friends. Your time in the UK is short. I know it will be bittersweet coming home. Take care and have a wonderful day! We are celebrating Memorial weekend in the states. Love & blessings from NC!

  2. Funny - We're leaving for our first-ever minor-league baseball game this afternoon. Our kids are so sports illiterate that we'll have to tutor THEM in it. (But they know all the rules of Quidditch, so whatever. ;)

    Have a great week connecting with friends before you cross back over to this side of the pond.

  3. That Pimms looks delicious and refreshing. Guess you'll have to get back into the swing of SEC football. Too bad you won't be living in SEC country.

  4. I don't know if I could watch a cricket game. Just this week my husband and I said that baseball was a bit slow for us, since we are avid hockey fans. Now that is a fast paced game. But then again, a nice slow game of cricket just might be what the doctored ordered for a relaxing afternoon! I would love to taste your Pimms, it looks wonderful. Great post once again.

  5. Ohhhh, the Pimms looks delicious and refreshing. I could use a swig of that about now. Hubby and I are in the middle of pickling beets. I took a short break. :)

    I love hearing all about England. I've learned so much from you. Cricket sounds like a very interesting sport, but one that I'd never learn the rules. I have a hard time with basketball. Seems like when I think I've learned it all, something comes along I've not gotten.

    The picture of you and your friends is great. Y'all look like you had a very relaxing day.

    Enjoy this last week with your friends.
    I know they are going to miss you just as much as you will them.

    Keeping you in my prayers during the transition.


  6. I really enjoy coming over here and reading about your life in England. I'd like to have the recipe for that looks wonderful and refreshing.

    I would really like to go to a cricket game. I had no idea the games were so long.

    Where are you moving to now?