The eternal game
This blog was first posted May 24, 2005, on Haaretz Underground.
I saw a live cricket game for the first time this weekend.
I was playing frisbee with my South African husband at the Gan Sacher park in Jerusalem when he suddenly began gazing intently at a group of Indian guys making their way toward us while schlepping cricket bats and stumps. Before I knew it, he had joined their pick-up game.
As an American chick with little to no interest in sports, I'm hardly a cricket expert, but I felt remarkably well-informed as Israelis strolling through the park stopped to stare at the game and figure out what it was they were watching. " Baseball?" one of them ventured.
But although I know cricket lovers will fiercely object to this statement, I have come to the conclusion that cricket is a far lazier game than its American cousin.
It turns out that in cricket you can get a home run without even moving your feet. Okay, so I'm mixing up my terminology a little, but this was the first time I learned that players can get four runs just for hitting the ball into the outfield. Silly me, I thought they were called "runs" for a reason.
You can accuse me of having a short attention span, but I find the whole concept of playing a game for FIVE DAYS to be just the other side of lunacy. But don't worry, it's not really five whole days, because the cricketers - basically Brits and those former colonists who have yet to cut their apron strings - actually stop the game for tea.
Cricket takes so long that apparently even the players get bored. Warren (the aforementioned South African husband) tells me that sometimes an inning (or an innings, as the excessive pluralizers like to call it) will be over for the simple reason that the side that's batting decides it has had enough and wants to switch. This can happen, he told me - with a straight face - if they've already been batting for two days and have only three more days to finish the game. Naturally, I burst out laughing.
People who need a whole working week to finish a ball game clearly need a bit more energy to finish up the job faster. Forget about those tea breaks - how about some coffee?
Update: It turns out they're actually Sri Lankan.