Some wearing funny clothing and protective gear, some not.
Then they switch, while some sit down and some run around.
Crowds cheer, or not. Or both.
What on earth is happening in this game that sees 11 players from each side hurtling a hard cork and leather ball at each other while both simultaneously trying to avoid getting hit by it and also attempting to smack the leather off of it?
I’m a Kiwi – A New Zealander – so growing up in a land once dominated by the British, cricket becomes a thing. I played it from a young age, both in whites on Saturday morning, then later afternoons, and in any even slightly available space with mates. Or whoever wanted to ‘roll the arm over’.
Backyards, streets, school playgrounds, parks, even the beach – this is where you’d find us, pretending to be our favourite players; Chris Cairns, Ken Rutherford, Danny Morrison, Martin Crowe – really whoever was playing the best and, therefore, clearly the most popular at the time – “No, I’m Chris Cairns! You can’t be Chris Cairns if I’m Chris Cairns!”
Of course to those in the know, it’s hardly likely anyone would want to be Chris Cairns these days… But I digress.
However, it’s a divisive game. Just because one is born into the land of a former British Colony, that doesn’t not mean one instantly plays or enjoys cricket. No, no no.
My American friends take note – beyond simply not understanding it like you, many people HATE it!
I know! It’s almost sacrilege.
It is a misunderstood game by many people, almost purely because “it goes on for soooo lonooong”, or some such complaint.
And this, my friends, is my first point – what can we learn about life from cricket?
Yes, very simply, cricket is a game of patience. A game of fine skill mixed with brute force, risk taking, intelligent decision making and having patience.
The above goes for those playing the game, however, for those watching, it most definitely involves a need for having patience.
To bring anyone who isn’t familiar with the intricacies and differences in forms of the game up to speed, there are 3 kinds of cricket games; a Test match which is played over 5 days, a One-Dayer which is obviously played over one day, and a ‘20/20’ which takes about 3-4 hours.
The finer points of those different games aside, one can tell that a game that takes 5 days, most definitely requires patience. In fact, the reason the other two forms exists is because people beyond the purists of the game were struggling with an attention span for the longer version of the game.
I should point out that the shorter 20/20 format of the game is a reasonably recent innovation of the last 10 years or so.
And why would that be? Well, because as a society we have no fucking patience!
Everything must be now! I want my stuff, and I want it now! Oh, that car cut you off from getting to your destination THREE SECONDS later than you would have? WOW, how awful of them…
Hurry up this and that!
My new show has come out, but I have to wait 2 months before it airs here in Australia…
Waiting for a train? URGH! Better get my phone out and busy up the time…
I want fat loss, but I want it NOW NOW NOW! I want a quick fix. I want the newest latest trend, ‘fad’, pill, whatever – I want whatever is going to get this fat off me as soon as (non) scientifically possible. And I don’t want to work for it, I don’t want to have to wait to see results, I’m going to stand on the scales every day, and if I don’t see results that week I’m going to move onto something else, because that thing clearly didn’t work!
^^ you know what I mean, right….
We live in a world of instant gratification, a desperate need to have things as soon as humanly possible.
Hundreds of people the world over lining up for days just to get the new ‘thing’ as soon as it is available.
Because a little patience just to wait a few days, weeks or even months to replace the no doubt incredibly capable alternative you currently have – well, well, that’s just a reality I don’t want to even think about! I NEEEED that new ‘iThingee’ NOW!
Seriously, calm the fuck down people! RELAAAAX.
Watch some cricket and learn some patience.
You see, cricket is a game of constant ebb and flow. You might have some instant gratification, yet it could be incredibly short lived, as momentum swings from one team to the other, and back. This could happen countless times over the space of a day – let alone 5 days!
If you are a cricket fan, if you choose to view it and become engrossed in it, even slightly interested in it, then you must have some patience. And if you don’t have it? Well, you’d better bloody learn some quick smart.
And for me, herein lies the main factor in being a cricket fan (and player) – you must cultivate the skill of patience, something that can serve you very well in this very impatient life.
However, it isn’t just patience. I mean, we’re not a society of monks (although of course we could do with learning a thing or two from most), it’s not all just wait…
What we also learn from cricket, if we pay attention – of course paying attention is another – is that one can have grace, subtly and strength. One can be destructive in a positive way, yet still have a finesse and refinement to them.
We learn that sometimes we have to be patient, hold your cards close to your chest, wait for the moment to POUNCE! To take risks, up the ante and be bold. Then when to hold back, ‘play with a straight bat’ and wait for your moment to take risks again.
A skill of self awareness and self management – something strongly needed to be developed and harnessed by many more people, I would argue (obviously).
We also know that cricket, like baseball, is a slightly different team sport to many. In a team sport like football, everything is dependent on the team as a whole, with individual skills still being integral to the entire game. While cricket and baseball require very individual elements that make up the team game so much more independently.
A batsman is very alone in the moment, executing his skill against one opponent at a time, while the rest of his mates, bar one, are all sitting down on the sideline watching.
This requires an individual to know and work on his own strengths while also ensuring a strong team around him.
In my time as a trainer, coach and now Man Coach if there is one thing I could sum up that most guys don’t do, that is build a strong team around them.
If you do have body composition goals, let’s say, and you go at it alone, you’re almost doomed to fail. Most people just aren’t that motivated. So just like cricket where one person simply could not take on 11, we must build a strong team around us. Then we can execute our own skills, both with their support, but also in doing so we help them in their individual skills and pursuit.
This team might not change or help your skills, but they’ll help you move towards your bigger goals, once you have the above skills of patience, daring, subtly and strength.
Why am I talking about this?
That is probably the most pertinent question though, right?
Well, it’s because I’m a New Zealander, as I mentioned. And it’s because at this very moment in time the Cricket World Cup is taking place, held jointly by NZ and Australia.
It’s also because the NZ cricket team – known as the Blackcaps – have not only made it to the final having never made it that far before – which as a diehard NZ cricket fan as I am, is just FUCKING AMAZING – but because is doing so, they have actually united the entire country, minus a few ‘non-believers’.
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And it is these non-believers, the people that like to sit on their high horses in a time like this and say things like “It’s just a stupid game, there are real issues happening in the world, and all we’re focused on is bloody cricket!” In my humble opinion, these people need to get with the program, so to speak.
It’s exactly this focusing on cricket, and therefore, shunning of so called ‘real’ issues that people NEED!
Seriously, look at the news – online, TV, papers – most of it is depressing; your life sucks/NO! – it’s good/now not – low brow drama. Of course, people are dying, starving etc etc, but how is you reading that each day helping YOU?!
Seriously – are you actually doing anything about those issues? Or is it just bringing you down? Keeping you in a constant need for drama – feeding your ‘monkey brain’.
If you are someone who constantly reads the paper and watches the news, I challenge you (as I do to all my clients) to remove and avoid it for one full week. Focus on things you enjoy, things you are grateful for – NOT things that bring you down and make you feel guilty for being alive.
This is my point – what the Blackcaps have done for the nation of New Zealand right now (and those of us scattered around the globe) is bring happiness, enjoyment and a reason to randomly talk to strangers with passion and excitement in our voices.
I mean, how on earth can that not be a good brilliant thing?!
Yes we all have serious lives with responsibilities, but do you also actually seek and strive to do things that genuinely make you happy, that would see you quite happily talk to a stranger about? Or do you go about your life, head own, get out of my way, I’ve got important shit to do…. kind of thing?
There is one other thing though. In fact it’s often been a dark side of cricket. Its stuffiness. That backward and pseudo-misogynistic-‘old England’-boys-club side.
And this is true, unfortunately. But in recent times this is changing, and CHANGE itself is being embraced – another lesson we can learn.
No change has ever been so profound, so widely received and adored than a kick in the arse of the stuffy old world of cricket commentary. Usually a bunch of former accomplished international and very talented players, now talking about the game as it unfolds.
It can be good, but it can, and more often is… meh.
Enter ‘The ACC’ – The Alternative Commentary Collective.
Hands down THE best thing to happen to cricket, short of the Blackcaps’ recent form.
In short, a bunch of comedians, radio hosts and cricket tragics (in the best way possible, like myself and so many others) commenting on the cricket (NZ games only) in the most unique of ways, totally… New Zealand.
These guys have been touring the country of NZ in a shitty old caravan and entertaining growing numbers of cricket fans the world over. Not just that, but – and this is significant – making fans of people previously disinterested ‘non believers’.
This is an amazing feat – to take ordinary people, those who dislike or have no interest in cricket – the folks I mentioned earlier – and turn them into raving fans. This in part due to the amazing cricket the Blackcaps have been playing, but also because of their unique brand of commentating – accurate ball-by-ball coverage mixed with absolute school boy locker room hummer.
I can’t speak highly enough for this change in the game, and the initiative it took these 7 guys to be absolutely 100% themselves while broadcasting the most dry Kiwi humour you’ll ever hear.
A refreshing brick to the face of traditional commentary, and to cricket on the whole. Showing us that change, well, it’s a good thing. You just have to have the balls to go about creating it yourself.
Because if you don’t, no one else will, right..?
I should point out that in a criminal turn of events, the stuffy ICC (International Cricket Council) have pulled the accreditation from these absolute geniuses, showing that there really is still some backward and change resistant w**kers out there, who can’t see that The ACC are the best thing to happen to cricket in, well, ever.
So not only have they had to be bandits on the run for the last few broadcasts, but they very sadly won’t be voicing the final, in which their beloved Blackcaps will be playing for the first time ever. This has crushed hearts, and ears, the world over.
That’s what we can get from cricket – certainly as a Kiwi right now, and anyone who is a genuine cricket fan. The Blackcaps are playing an amazing style of cricket, it must be said, full of patience, skill, risk-taking, strength, subtly and grace.
All that remains now, in the great words of Frank the Tank is for New Zealand’s (now) beloved Blackcaps to just keep their composure…
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To the Blackcaps this coming Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, myself and a nation (and many more cricket fans around the world) are behind you.
To the ACC – thank you for your entertainment, it has been amazing.
To everyone else – watch some cricket and see if you can learn a thing it two, about life…[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]