Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Three cheers for tedium!

It can drift past like a cloud and edge forward like the shade of a tree -- its meandering tempo broken only occasionally by violent action akin to a thunderstorm's squall.
CRICKET boasts a rhythm perfectly matched to summer.

For the uninitiated, this rhythm might be mistaken for tedium. Most traditional cricket enthusiasts defend their sport's lack of pace.

The late cricket journalist RON ROBERTS, wrote in an essay published in 1966:

"The game would cease to be cricket, with its natural ebb and flow, if sustained at a concert pitch of excitement."

I laughed when I first read that line. I thought: Three cheers for tedium!
Later, Roberts' assertion began to make sense. You wouldn't want summer to slip past in a blur, would you? Then why would you want the quintessential summer sport to speed away?

I think of baseball as occupying spring, summer and (especially this season -- GO GIANTS!) fall.

Cricket belongs solely to the lazy days of summer.

My second summer starts tonight (our time) in Brisbane, with the launch of this year's ASHES SERIES -- the ancient cricket rivalry between ENGLAND and AUSTRALIA.

Although I have followed cricket since a 1980 trip to Europe, I have never been as excited for the beginning of an Ashes series, for two principal reasons:

1. I have actually seen the Ashes -- the tiny urn representative of the rivalry. The urn is encased in glass at LORD'S CRICKET GROUND, which my sister Inger and I toured.

2. For the first time, I have visited both of the nations involved in the rivalry, following my August trip to SYDNEY.

I'll listen to the cricket on the online radio and check the scores every evening. The temperatures will drop below freezing here, but the game will provide a slice of summer for me.


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