George, save us from British and their cricket
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Thank you, George.
Without your rather brash, brave choice in 1776 the world would be a different place.
It’s hard to fathom today in our comfortable, stable — by almost any other nation’s definition but our own — lives just what a choice George Washington made back then. To try and translate the setting into our sedate lives let’s put it in sports terms.
This outfielder, little known outside his hometown, plays a AA exhibition series for the most dominant, storied and by far richest team around. The club had double-booked itself and needed to focus on the main lineup and not this side show against the Indians in the bush leagues. Washington does pretty good. No home runs but he doesn’t go down looking and hits consistently.
A few seasons later, the team finds itself facing a long road trip towards Washington’s neck of the woods and has a roster spot open. Figuring a hometown boy might turn the crowd and make the series all that much easier — because no one was going to seriously challenge the team now after a winning streak measured in centuries — the team offers the kid major money, a great signing bonus and an immediate chance to play with the big names like Cornwallis, Clinton, Howe and Gage.
The team is shocked when Washington turns them down and not only signs with the local farmhands but reorganizes them as a player/manager. They are perplexed that he stays in the lineup after being hit by a few pitches as the team takes some easy opening wins. And astounded when he rallies the home team, which didn’t even all have uniforms, to a major upset with a combination of dirty tricks, fan support and bringing in a ninth-inning ringer from the majors to seal the deal.
If Washington hadn’t, then the world would certainly be a very different place.
The North American colonies would be much more developed in soccer. Light years ahead in rugby. Basketball and football might never have been.
And worst of all, not withstanding the fate of Europe and how the 20th century might have unfolded without a US of A, if the little revolt in America had been crushed before it had begun, we’d be playing cricket now.
And liking it!
While baseball can seems truly our national past time with its slower pace and paired against our instant gratification demands and modern pace of life, it at least has movement and followable action.
It does not have breaks for tea, lunch, finger-nail filing and midnight snack. Something I’m fairly certain cricket can’t claim.
Baseball is the closest thing we in the U.S. can compare to cricket. There is no game clock, a bat and ball are involved but that’s still about as far as it goes. And baseball actually ends with a winner.
The Smokies have gone into the 13th inning twice in their last 10 games. It was free late night baseball that made fans choose between a full night’s sleep or seeing the thrilling conclusion not come back off and on for a week.
That isn’t the case with our British cousins most peculiar recreational endeavor.
After referencing several sources, the longest Test on record was between South Africa and England in Durban, South Africa. The game started on March 3, 1939. By the evening of March 14 “England were 316 and 654 for 5 chasing South Africa’s 530 and 481 needing just 42 more runs for victory.”
And here’s the best part. England had to catch the boat back home on the 15th, so the teams agreed to just call it a tie.
That is just not us.
While we can appreciate calling ti a draw and sending England back home on a boat — the war of 1812 comes to mind. We want a winner, want a loser, need a decision.
For better or worse we’ve gutted our sports rule books to provide overtime rules just so we can have the final outcome. It’s a reflection of our nation that we want to get a fair decision using a ton of rules and tools but in the end, we want a final.
We want to celebrate the winner, which in a way is what today is really all about.
Thank you, George.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com