Friday, March 28, 2008

Cricketeering & Wicketology

No question about it, there's no better way to blow off something so vague, obtuse and inconsequential as the third round of the NCAA basketball playoffs than to be out in the open on the grass near the lake, playin' cricket for the first time in your life and then measuring up the pitch tossed by the British chap and clouting a drive onto the footpath and learning from that friendly Aussie gal playing wicketkeeper that it isn't necessary to scurry between the wickets because it's 6 RUNS.

A 6-run blast ... that's like being twice as good as Ryan Howard.

6 RUNS ... that's on par with achieving total victory in "Ninja Warrior" during the fourth and final stage at Mount Midoriyama by conquering the 40-foot spider climb and the 33-foot rope climb within the 30-second limit (except that, in this case, there were no anxious Japanese schoolchildren or a tense Japanese wife or excited Japanese groupies to provide support and cheers).

For the uninitiated, 6 RUNS is achieved when the Striker clears "the Boundary" on the fly with a prodigous strike.

It's a powerful feeling, particularly in a novice player's development.
And, it's a feeling that's two clicks higher than the euphoria a Striker feels when he uses his wicket to achieve 4 RUNS -- the result when a striked ball touches the Boundary without clearing it.

Kinda like a gapper up against the fence in RCF which chases home the tying and go-ahead runs.

Speaking of "right up my alley," it's always a good sign when the Indian (or was he Pakistani?) guy replaces the Brit who was the initial bowler and you greet him with another 4 RUN strike which rattles up against the Boundary.

It matters not the pitch -- be it Beam Ball or Full Toss or Mulligrubber or Half Volley or Yorker -- when it's your turn to protect the bales from being knocked from atop the wicket by Beam Balls and Full Tosses and Mulligrubbers and Half Volleys and Yorkers, sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

Granted ... it might be too early to talk about turning pro, but, when it's your first-ever adventure as Striker and you're puttin' up 14 or 15 runs ... and when your girl ends the friendly competition by gracefully and skillfully barehanding the final Striked ball of the informal event, well ... let's just say that post-cricket "relations" (wink, wink) are a force to be reckoned with.

Kinda reminds ya of what Weller sang about in "The Eton Rifles" when the lyric was, "Thought you were clever when you lit the fuse / Tore down the House of Commons in your brand new shoes / Composed the revolutionary symphony / Then went to bed with a charming young thing ... "

Either that or Pete's message when he sang about, "Working in gardens, thornless roses / Fat men play with their garden hoses / Poolside laughter has a cynical bite / Sausage speared by the cocktail satellite ... "

That's one thing that those college chicks never understood -- the unfiltered "Burning Sky"/"Strange Town"/"Thick As Thieves" hard edge of "SETTING SONS" and the unique, timeless "Lay Your Hands On Me"/"Wallflower"/"Kiss Of Life" precision of "SECURITY."

Sure makes ya feel blessed when ya marry the gal who does -- even though you and the Mrs. remain chagrined that even if "American Idol" ever did pay tribute to the songs of Peter Gabriel, "Lay Your Hands On Me" wouldn't make the songlist ("I'm living way beyond my means/ Living in the zone of the in-betweens / I can see the flashes on the frozen ocean / Static charge of the cold emotion ...").

OK, then ... what about "And Through The Wire"?

That sugar plum who loves the musical contributions of Paul & Pete also loves the fact that Paul n' Pete love cricket farrrr more than the sport in which Dickie V. calls something "a trifecter" (which, by the way, is 50 times easier to achieve than 6 RUNS ... take it from someone who's accomplished both, America).

Ooooopsie daisy ... we've run out of time ... and now America has no other option but to decide whether it wants its college basketball playoff recap/preview from Bobby's moss-coloured-sweater-with-melon-coloured-shirt-collar.

Dude doesn't realize that cricket has a great many more intracasies than merely Team A needs to make their shots, Team B must rebound better, Team X has gotta play solid D, Team Y can't keep turnin' the ball over, Team Z's foul-shooting must improve, yawn, yawn and triple-yawn.

It's like this: There's no point in watching Wussconsucks puttin' up only 20 second-half points during the Davidson/Stephen Curry "Miss George Mason 2008 Pageant."

That kid never cleared the footpath for 6 RUNS.

So what if he's got the quick release. Let's see his late cut, his slash, his lap shot, his glance, his reverse sweep ...

Let Bobby's pink sweater discuss the cover drive between the short mid off and the extra cover as America chows down on some Spicy Baconators and BBQ Bacon Tendercrisps.

As for some of us, we're realizing that the Striker's drive onto the footpath beyond the Boundary ... that is the new trifecter (even if it does count for 6 RUNS instead of 3 points) ...

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