Spring Break Blokes on a World Cup Field: World Cup Cricket 2007 by Ultimate Sports Wife, Nicole
On a recent Spring Break trip to St. Lucia, we had the pleasure of taking in a match at the World Cup of Cricket - Kenya vs. England.
Now, you may wonder why two sports Yankees took time away from an all-you-can-drink resort where “time flies when you having RUM”… (I am still wondering this myself). If you have been to this site, then you know the level of dedication necessary for Ultimate Fandom.
Now, I did have preconceived notions of cricket. It’s just SOOOO British. Traditionally, the players wear sweaters that are too preppie for the Ivy League. They often break for tea and cucumber sandwiches and not to bring colonial politics into this whole thing, but to play cricket is tantamount to colonization; that’s why we American’s call it baseball and taint the sport with sliding in the dirt, spitting and crotch grabbing. God Bless us.
Well, you know our motto here: there are no second class sports. So, I had to give it a chance. Serendipitously, we met a British couple at our resort that happened to be taking a break from their honeymoon in order to enjoy the magic of World Cup Cricket. Thankfully, with the translation of our British guides as well as a print out “cheat sheet” from Foxsports.com, we were true insiders in the game.
So, for all of you Americans, Cricket is very similar to baseball, just that the pitcher or “bowler” runs and charges while he throws the ball, the bat is more like a frat-boy’s paddle, and there are only two bases that runners dash between. For anyone who accuses American baseball for being slow, Cricket has won on this account – often taking days (yes, DAYS) to complete a game. There is a considerable amount of novelty in watching a game so close to baseball but with some wacked-out rules.
Now given the fact that Cricket has such a tightly, wound reputation, I figured that the novelty of the game would be short-lived. You can only focus on clever rules for so long.
Well, I was unaware of the off-court drama that had all the scandal of Canseco’s “Juice.” First, Cricket fans are serious about their Cricket. So much so, that losing has some dire consequences. Alarmingly, Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered (strangled) in his hotel room on the Sunday after the team's World Cup defeat to Ireland. This sounds like a fictional, horror movie but sadly, it is all true.
Second, and on a much lighter note, there is the English Vice Captain, Andrew Flintoff, who is affectionately (now mockingly) known as Freddy Flintoff. During part of the World Cup, after a loss to Canada (of all countries), Flintoff, along with other players and coaches, overindulged in some late night partying. And with the wisdom that only comes from inebriation, Flintoff decided to take a pedalo and start peddling on the ocean. As our British friend Mike Farmer explain: Flintoff was so “pissed out of his face” that the hotel staff had to save him from himself. Now, if you do not speakie English…I mean, British English then I will provide the translation: While heavily intoxicated, Fred Flintoff fell into the ocean and had to be saved by the gracious hotel staff. Of course, being only feet away from Good Ole Freddy, we had no choice but to do a little American-style heckling…what’s sa matta with Flintoff…HE’S A BLOKE! (I thought “Bloke” was British for “Bum.” But, I found out bloke really means “guy” so it was a heckle that just didn’t make sense).
These subtexts added to a delightful (and abbreviated) World Cup experience. Abbreviated because the World Cup officials had the presence of mind to limit games to only one day. Delightful because we had our British friends, Mike Farmer and Caroline McNamara, to narrate the behind-the-sports drama.