I went and watched part of a Cricket match the other day. It was the third day of the Australia vs South Africa test at the MCG. Now, before you fall off your seats, I went with two American friends who were visiting in Melbourne, so I went along to share the joy of trying to confuse a poor foreigner, not out of any twisted love of the game or anything.
Laura flew in from San Francsico on Christmas Day and Bryce came down from Brisbane on Boxing Day. Given Bryce has been living in Australia for a while, he’s already learned the joys of cricket and has experienced a number of games at the Gabba. For Laura, however, it was all new.
I’d had a go at explaining the rules as I drove Laura in from the airport on Christmas Day. She’s not your average yank, as she watches the BBC, loves reading Terry Pratchett’s books, likes the Pythons and does remember that, according to Douglas Adams, Earth is shunned due to the game of Cricket being a warped parody of the most destructively genocidal galactic war ever fought (the Krikkit Wars). Given all that, she’s already well on the way to “getting” the game.
Thanks to my friend Stephen we were able to get three general admission tickets for the Sunday session. We went by train (Connex were late as usual) and shuffled through the station’s gates, swarming in with the mobs of people who were going to the game. Surprisingly, I ran into someone I used to work with back at EDS (Hi Mark) who immediately realised that I was, perhaps, the last person at the stadium who should have been trying to teach Laura about cricket. Fortunately I do recall that many of my misspent days of youth included watching cricket with my family and playing it with friends. So, while I don’t know shit about the current teams, details of coaching methods & support staff for the team and, in fact, may of the other items that fans may know, I was able to help give her a basic understanding.
Once in the stadium we found a good spot to sit (opposite the view board) that had shade, great views and let us get a feel for the size of the stadium. It was only about 1/3 full which is probably why we were able to easily get good seats. Not long after we arrived the teams came out with South Africa batting and Australia trying to get them all out and force a follow-on to their next inning. This, of course, made it rather more exciting than the usual test match cricket day (which can often be like watching paint dry).
We only wound up staying for the first two hours as Laura & Bryce wanted to scoot off down the Great Ocean Rd. While only a short time, it was enough for Laura to get a feel for the game and experience the following:
- A good, running catch out near the boundary
- A variety of different bowling method styles (pace & spin), fielding positions (slips, silly mid off/on, etc) and how the whole field adjusts when changing from a left handed to right handed batsman
- The basics of the game (overs, changing ends, runs, attempted stumpings, etc)
- Some poor person in the level above us having a medical emergency and getting CPR for about 15 to 20 minutes – no idea what happened as there’s been no news about it
- The “yobbo crowd” in Bay 13 getting up to their usual antics (starting waves, chanting, bouncing beach balls, etc)
So yes, a great day to take someone new to the game and let them experience it. It wasn’t quite as exciting as a 1 day match but it did flow quite well.
The one thing that’s sticking in my mind about all this is a major “WTF???!”:
What the hell is it with Australia that you can’t bring glass bottles into the stadium but you can bring a freakin’ cricket bat??? I mean, hello? Leathal frickin weapon here!
I took a few photos of the cricket experience and have loaded them into the Gallery system I recently set up. I intend to sort out its look and feel (currently pretty yuk) and transition most of the current Photos into it soon.