But one thing I do not know much about is sports. I suppose if you broke it out into all the different sports that I don't know much about, it would be a lot things that I do not know. Take hockey. Don't know much about it even though I once lived with three star players on an elite university hockey team. Or football. Don't know much about it, either, even though the same university was also known for its football program. In fact, in seven years in university there is just one non-graduation photo of me in the university yearbook, and wouldn't you know it, it is of me at the one football game I attended. On the two page spread, I am just about in the middle of the page. Everyone else in the stands are on their feet with their hands in the air, mouths open, as they cheer for...well, for something, but I have no idea what. And there is me, sitting there with a confused look on my face.
So it is not surprising that I know nothing about cricket either. In fact, the only cricket I had seen prior to this last week was the groups of men and boys that play in the sports fields that dot the country.
Steve does know a lot about cricket. Having spent time in India and Sri Lanka before, he has come to love the game. At Pizza Hut last week his eyes were glued to the television screen, as were everyone else's except mine. Yesterday he tried explaining the game to me as he watched the highlights reel of a big match from last weekend while we were eating at Burger King in Colombo, and while I sort of got it, it still really made no sense to me. Then again, I was distracted by the most awesome veggie burger I have ever had and was composing a "please extend your Asian veggie burger to North America" letter in my head to Burger King.
Cricket is a big deal in much of the world. It ranks number two only to football - soccer to North Americans. Yesterday when we were in Colombo we were slowed down getting to our destination due to a huge parade that stretched at least four or five city blocks. It was a precursor parade rally to a big cricket match that was happening between two high schools. There were numerous floats, countless instruments being played, music blaring from flatbeds, dancing, decorated cars, shouting, cheering, chanting, flag waving.... All for a high school cricket match. When Steve asked the tuktuk driver about it, he replied, "It's a very important game today for the school." With such fervour over a high school match, you can imagine how things get when the Cricket World Cup is on. In India alone, the big cricket match today between India and Sri Lanka was watched by 195 million people. India won, by the way, much to Sri Lanka's dismay.
Today, Steve, hoping to further enlighten my sports befuddled brain, found this piece which explains the game quite well, and could easily be dubbed "The Idiot's Guide to Cricket". Here is an except from the section on how the game is played:
Okay, that's pretty basic, right? But apparently this kind of cricket is played only to make the game more accessible. Real cricket is a grueling game called Test Cricket, which is designed to see which team has the most endurance and real skill, and can last up to five days!
Here is my favourite explanation of how the game works, from a sign on the wall at Lord's Restaurant....
That just about sums up the game, right?