Well, England has won the Ashes.  I felt that coming into the last match, it would more likely be England or draw than Australia.  After all, the results were Draw-England-Draw-Australia-…  To complete the pattern, it should have been draw, but I still thought England had a better chance because it’s hard to win two in a row.  That’s just me, using the fatigue factor.  Of course, it rarely factors into the equation.

Anyhow, before the final match, there were rumours floating around about a conspiracy, as evidenced by irregular betting patterns.  Though it’s been done before, I cannot conceive how a game can be thrown unless everyone was involved.  I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, so I couldn’t swallow it.  But, apparently, a certain part of the Australian press are claiming otherwise.  To say they were disappointed is an understatement.  The Australians had been cricket leaders for a long time, so to lose is very bitter.

Well, the next Ashes will be in Australia, sometime in a little over 18 months time.  Already, we know several players won’t be back – I can’t believe how young these guys are when they retire.  Wonder if they’ll continue in the amateur league once their professional careers are over?

We had gone to a jumble sale when we stopped at a playground for the girls.  While we were there, the local cricket team was preparing for a match, so we stayed to watch for a while.

You might hear about a softball team here and there in the US, but there were no organised amateur sports.  Here, each town/village would have a cricket team and they would form leagues and play against each other throughout the year. It’s not just cricket, but football and rugby as well.  Every time you drive through a town, regardless of size, you’d find lots of cricket greens and football and rugby clubs.  It’s a part of life. 

It makes me wonder why they keep reporting that the UK is the least active country in the EU. Yes, I can see that obesity is on the rise (the size makeup in this country is definitely larger than it was 10 years ago).  But, seeing that adults are still staying active, I don’t understand how kids can grow up couch potatoes.

The Ashes.  A long-standing tradition in England (and Australia, for that matter).  And England finally won the match, or test, at Lord’s – I believe they said it was the first in 75 years.  Well, it was also the first time I actually watched a cricket a game (or part of).

The English are well-known for their reserve, and I think it also applies to sports.  By this, I mean that they do not go out of their way to explain it.  My husband and his family have always been sports fan.  That is, they follow all the English sports and have their favourites, even if they really don’t go fanatical like some fans.  They also don’t try to convert people to their sports religion.

This is very different from my experience in the States.  Over there, if you mention that you don’t understand the American ball games, someone would stand up and go into detail about how the game works.  Some sports fans, like one of my brothers, may bore you with all the statistics of a particular favourite player, completely oblivious of the interest (or lack thereof) or understanding of the listener.

Football (soccer) is easy for me to understand, as that is played in the US.  Rugby I have seen a little of and understand understand how they score, etc.  But cricket is another matter.  It does not help that I had never seen a match before yesterday.  But the terminology had been cmpletely baffling to me.  Even when I’ve asked a question, everyone just shrugs it off with “It’s cricket.” 

So, while visiting my mother-in-law, who is recovering from her fall and is finally home, we watched the end of the cricket match, the second test.  At this point, England needed 4 wickets and Australia needed something like 185 runs.  As much as comparisons are made between cricket and baseball, they are completely dissimilar.  The physiotherapist, an Australian, arrived just as England scored the first of the last 4 wickets.  By the time she left, the game was over.

In that time, I learned what a wicket was and what is meant by an “over” (though I fail to understand how that terminology came about).  I still don’t know how they decide who bats and who bowls and whether there is a set number of runs that needs to be scored, while I understand that the number of wickets is 10.  I still cannot grasp how a game can last days on end, the terminology of 20/20, or why a female cricketer took nine hours to bowl nine overs.  As far as I can understand, 6 balls is an over, so 9 overs is 54 balls.  Why did it take so long?  Of course, I’m still too ignorant of the game to even ask more questions and no one’s about to explain it unless I ask specific questions.  Is it because it’s too complicated?