Yesterday, during the Champions Trophy final, I received this tweet:
@limitedovers In fairness, within cricket circles the sport is already 42% laughingstock.
— Burton DeWitt (@bsd987) June 23, 2013
I am taking him out of context, as were discussing ESPN’s decision not to put the final of the Champions Trophy on television, just online, but I think his point still stands: most cricket fans (far more than 42% surely), even the most ardent ones, think cricket is a joke, a parody of itself, and yes, a laughingstock.
We all love to hate cricket. Love to poke fun at it. Love to feel all sheepish when we tell people we are cricket fans.
Yesterday was no exception.
The tournament itself was a meaningless ICC cash grab, the organizers refused to put a reserve day in the schedule so the final HAD to happen on Sunday, the match was shortened to a 20/20 but with ODI rules, and the rain turned the entire game into a farce.
It was a great day for cricket.
Gary Naylor said it best:
@TestMatchSofa Even the dullest form of the game in an inconsequential tournament in a match hit by weather is still fantastic. Cricket eh?
— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) June 23, 2013
That is something we all tend to forget: it’s a great game.
Sure there are days when we all, myself included, want to call it quits as cricket supporters. The spot fixing scandals, the corruption at every level, the seemingly endless parade of meaningless and morally bankrupt T20 tournaments…
But at the end of the day, we are here for a reason: because it’s a great game. Every format brings something different to the table and has the capability to thrill and entertain.
Once the rain delays finally subsided yesterday, I found myself permanently glued to my computer screen. The game is just simply great entertainment from start to finish. Even when everything including mother nature was conspiring against yesterday’s final, it still delivered.
But maybe cricket is great to watch not in spite of the fact that it tries so hard to make us hate it, but because of that fact. Cricket is a coldhearted lover that we keep running back to. Because we think we can change them. Settle them down. Make them love us back with as much passion as we love them.
One more chance, this time it’ll be different.
Or maybe not.
Maybe the game has existed for all these years, in all these formats, on all these continents for one simple reason: it’s a great game.
Sometimes we all need to take a step back and remember while we are all here in the first place. For me, yesterday was one of those times – and I hope it was for you, too.
One thing I did learn yesterday, was that Indian cricket supporters have their convictions, and they stand by them no matter the outcome. I knew that already to an extent but when I tweeted that India would now forgive Dhoni and Ishant after the Morgan wicket, the response was fast and furious to the contrary:
I tend to forgive the athletes on the teams I support rather quickly, but Indian cricket supporters do not. It speaks highly of their passion for the game and their team. A passion I both respect and admire.
As @fwildecricket put it yesterday, it was great to see India win, as they are “(t)he beating heart of world cricket.
I could not agree more.
Congrats to India and their supporters. And congrats to all of cricket. A great day.