Into each and every life some rain has got to fall
But too much of that stuff is fallin’ into mine
And into each heart some tears got to fall
And I know that someday that sun is bound to shine
A lot of the time, I don’t mind the rain. Sure, sometimes I have gotten caught out in it on long bike rides, and yeah that sucks. And other times whole weekends of outdoor fun have gotten washed away in days’ long rain. I remember an Art-A-Whirl a few years ago. It’s this two music and art festival in Northeast Minneapolis. All beer and bands and studios. It’s always a great time. It feels like a smaller, less corporate version of South by Southwest. But that one year it rained all weekend. And yeah, again, that sucked.
But most of the time I don’t mind it. I get really terrible sun guilt, and if it is sunny I feel like I need to be outside doing … something, anything. Even in the dead of winter. And if I’m not outside doing something I get all this anxiety. It’s truly awful. But if it is raining, then it’s okay if I just sit inside and read or watch cricket or read and watch cricket or whatever I want to do. I was an indoor kid growing up, and rain helps me feed that old beast now and again. And so a rainy day and a window and a mug of coffee with a little booze in it and a good book is just fine with me most of the time.
As cricket fans, though, we all know that rain is the devil. Nothing makes our heart sink like seeing a few drops of the nasty stuff start to spatter on players’ shoulders. Or when the camera pans up to the sky and it’s dark and menacing and awful. Or, the worst, when we tune into a match that we had been looking forward to, and we are greeted with this:
Makes my heart sink just looking at that.
Whole matches have been lost to rain. Whole series. One stands out, when England retained the Ashes in 2013:
To quote myself, as I am want to do:
after all of the press conferences, pre-match interviews, warm-up matches, predictions, and back page after page of punditry and statistical analyses and team selection dust ups and injuries … after months of anticipating… after everything … it’s over. Just like that. On a gloomy Monday afternoon in Manchester. With the covers on the pitch and the players in the clubhouse.
Cricket fans hate rain. It’s a cricket killer. It’s the old enemy. Before the corruption and the greed and The Hundred, there was rain. There has always been rain, and there always will be.
Sometimes the clouds part. And the covers come off. And the umpires do a light reading and check the outfield and all looks good. And there’s a call for a restart in 25 minutes. And the sun comes out from behind a cloud and burns all the white and gray into blue and green. And the fans drift back to their seats. And the players trot out into the golden day. And it’s only one o’clock in the afternoon, and all that waits in front of us is more cricket. An endless sea of joy in this grand old game.
Are those afternoons made brighter, better, more enjoyable because of the rain storm? I will give that a hesitant yes. It’s easier to enjoy something when it’s been given back after you thought it was gone forever. And with cricket, we all know that the rain could come at any time, even in the UAE — just ask the American cricket team. Every game could see the covers come on at any moment. So it’s both a relief when the game comes back, and a reminder that nothing is guaranteed forever.
But what’s is guaranteed is that at some point the rain will stop, and the sky will clear, and the covers will come off. It was not sunny forever, and that’s how we know it won’t rain forever.
It’s another lesson cricket can teach us, if we simply let it:
The sun always shines again. Maybe not this afternoon, maybe not even tomorrow, but it will shine again. And there will be cricket. And there will be joy. Nothing in cricket — and nothing in life — is guaranteed … except that.
Sometimes, we turn the TV back on, and see this:
And those are the days we should cling to when the skies grow dark and the camera pans up to black and blue and the umpires look worried. Because the days above always come again. Always.
My skies are clearing, everyone.
But there’s one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me
Won’t defeat me, it won’t be long
Till happiness steps up to greet me
Side note: a huge thanks to Declaration Game — a great blog run by a cricket nut who knows and sees the game very well — for his kind words about this here site:
I will end this round-up, in imitation of Wisden, with my nomination of the World’s Leading Cricket Blogger of the Year – aka the blogger whose output has given me most reading pleasure in these last twelve months. Limited Overs is the work of Matt Becker who, from his home in Minnesota, bridges the personal and the global meaning of cricket, with a tender mix of emotion, humour and sincerity.
It blows me away that people read this site at all. And it blows me away even more that people seem to like it. Seeing this yesterday was a real shot in the arm for me and my writing and this blog. I love writing here, and I don’t want that to ever stop, and kind words like this make it so much easier.
Thank you to everyone who reads, comments and retweets. Happy New Year.