I've been travelling now for almost two weeks and it's beginning to show. Bar soap has long been forgotten, as have been wash cloths. Soccer has become football. And I have even managed to turn water into beer (as a main source of hydration)! Call me Jesus.
But the ultimate in assimilation occurred last night when I attended my first ever cricket match. Or as people here would say: I attended the cricket. Now I'm sure everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting to hear my opinion on the sport, so here you go.
I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't have one. I was lucky enough to go with some Brits who understand and were able to explain the game so I understand it. Mostly. But like baseball it's a bit too boring to warrant a real opinion. And I should clarify that I went to the exciting version of cricket called twenty20 which only takes a couple hours to complete, rather than the 5 day long test matches that can easily end in an anti-climactic draw. I'm including a crappy picture on the right to show you the big open field where the match was played.
One of the things I did notice during the match, however, is how popular it is. The stadium isn't huge and probably only holds a couple thousand people at full capacity. But as you can see below it was nowhere near full capacity. In fact the stands were quite sparse. In cricket's defense it was a bit on the cold side, but no rain was threatening so it wasn't that bad. It seems to be even the people of the world who supposedly love cricket don't.
The sport really is a lot like baseball except there is a lot more focus on scoring and less on defense. They don't wear gloves, the field has no direction and a 6er (home run) can be scored by hitting the ball in any direction. A ground rule double is called a 4 (and is quite common). An out is a wicket, and you get 10 wickets per inning instead of 3, except you don't have to use all 10 wickets (don't ask because it will begin to get confusing).
And my moment of immense pride and the only moment of mild heightened emotion for the evening occurred toward the end of the match when I asked if the game would be over (finally) if the second team passed the first team's score (they only play 1 extremely long inning in twenty20). The answer was yes. And I immediately began thinking of how much fun walk off home runs are, so I then began rooting for a "walk off 6er." The Brits of the group quickly understood what I meant and thought it was a cool term. And now I imagine the whole of the cricket world will be using my newly coined term. As John Hodgman would say: You're Welcome.