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.[ad#ad-1]

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.[ad#ad-1]

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.

I remember years ago, while watching a sports game, my husband commented on the American habit of jeering and taunting the opposition.  He couldn’t understand it because it was just not done in England.  Of course, this usually occurred only in professional sports.  But, then, you notice how parents and, sometimes, coaches can get riled up in amateur team sports.  These people are all supposed to be role models for our young athletes.

I don’t follow sports much.  But I remember a news story a few months back about how parents here in the UK were becoming extremely competitive (more so than the athletes) and aggressive at tennis matches.  Then, just last week, a talk show host brought up the issue of bad behaviour amongst athletes and their fans at football (soccer) matches.  They noticed this most especially with football, but not cricket or rugby.  It’s very interesting the trend that is developing.

Growing up in the US and having witnessed the taunting, I never thought twice about it.  When my husband suggested that fans applauded good effort on the part of their opponents, I thought it sounded strange.  After all, it’s a competition, isn’t it?  You’re supposed to support your team and want them to win, right?  Why cheer on the opponent?  Well, it has nothing to do with supporting the opposition.  It has to do with showing good sportsmanship.  Giving credit where credit was due.  You see post-game interviews and those who show good sportsmanship will praise their opponents.  If they’ve won, it’s a lot easier for most players to be generous.  But when they’ve lost, I have more respect for the players who say, “They beat us because they were a better team” or “They played better”, rather than “We lost because we didn’t play hard enough.”  It’s as if the latter group was saying they were better but they just couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort.  A very arrogant attitude.

One of the ways schools are trying to teach good sportsmanship is by applying the mercy rule.  It’s already been in effect in some areas, but they are trying to widen it.  It basically means that if a team is ahead by so many points, then the game is forfeited.  I’m not sure this is a very good idea as it may teach kids to give up when the going gets tough.  It’s probably best just to let them play it out and everybody shake hands at the end.  I wouldn’t advocate that the winning team let up in their efforts either.  They should just play the “benchwarmers” at that point.  Then, everyone gets a chance to participate.

Though the jeering may have infiltrated British sports, to the dismay of the general public, I don’t believe that cheering for their opponents will ever take in the US.  The mentality is so different.  Society has changed somewhat in the UK, but I do hope that they don’t lose their sense of sportsmanship.  It somehow sets them apart.