Cricket the social climber

You know what cricket reminds me of these days: a school kid that’s desperately trying to make itself popular. I mean think about it. Remember back in the early 70’s when cricket was really admirable. It was its own man like Ferris Bueller. Though it didn’t hang out with the cool sports, it was still occasionally invited it to their parties. Mostly though, it mixed better with socially awkward types – sports like Hockey and Badminton and Lacrosse. These sports all looked up to it, especially coz it moved at the beat of its own drum. Sports like Croquet and Polo loved how it could hypothesize for days and days and still keep your attention (well for the most part.) Tennis loved the tasteful way that it dressed. Baseball, its exchange-student overseas cousin, loved the timbre of its leather on willow. It was a well-respected sport – an intelligent and unobtrusive bookworm at sports Hogwarts. But that all soon changed, didn’t it?

In the late 70’s it started to mope around, didn’t it? Its grades began to drop and it was soon in sessions with the student counselor. It turned out that it was having problems at home. It said its parents were fighting with a fat bastard. “His name is Packdock or Packshit or something.” It said it was having trouble staying focused with all this going on. The problem went on for a whole semester. Then something unusual happened. After the break, it returned to campus with a whole new attitude. It started to dress flashily and to strut in a whole new way. It still hung out with close chums Hockey and Tennis but they could tell that its mind was elsewhere. Whenever the cool sports were around, they felt its mind wandered over to what they were up to. The really cool sports Footy and Rugby soon took more notice of it too. They began to wave it over from the back of the bus. “Yo bitch,” they’d call; “Over here,” they’d tack on. As though knocking down tenpins, Cricket would then scythe through the geeky sports to get to the seat they’d saved. Before long, it made it over to them without being waved. It was around about this time that it hardly took notice of the awkward types in used to call friends.

Now that it was in with the cool sports, its personality really changed. The long-winded hypothesis’s that it was admired for – especially the ones that took 5 days – became less and less characteristic. It started to rap like the cool sports. It talked trash and slouched like them. It told smutty jokes and shot peas into the back of the necks of geeky sports. Then it turned really nasty. It started dishing out wedgies. One time, it, Footy and an awful ethnic kid named Soccer dished out an atomic one to Croquet. Croquet couldn’t use its mallets for weeks after. It was around about this time that it really got in with the wrong crowd. It started hanging out with Skateboarding and Surfing. These burnouts soon had it behaving in an even more radical way. It adopted a new nickname and called itself T20. T20, as it was now known, started smoking reefers and getting teenage girls pregnant. It was disruptive in class and nihilistic for the sake of being boorish. It also hung out with Bodybuilding and Kickboxing and really beefed up. The tasteful cream flannels that it used to wear were now mothballed. The lovely meandering philosophical discussions that were its intrinsic charm were now secondary to fart jokes. It was then that it got a tattoo.

Cricket before the introduction of the short form games functioned on dignified terms. I loved it for that. It wasn’t cool, but it was respected. It was a game that inspired literary explorations and a game for the intelligentsia. It wasn’t meant to be calibrated to be as popular as football. And that was its appeal. Of course, this couldn’t last. In the age of professional sport, a Kerry Packer type was inevitably going come along and ruin it all. Owing to a world that puts a dollar sign on everything, cricket is now a cyber bullying slacker, that wants to gangsta rap. No thanks to the market forces that dumb down everything, cricket wants to “get jiggy wid it, bitch.” To sign off deflatedly on that note, “It’s a motherfucking shame.”

About Peter Zitterschlager

More of me at www.vivtufnell.com.au. Less of me pretty much everywhere else.

Comments

  1. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    T-Bone, seems like cricket’s devolution has mirrored the decline in Western culture. The quick, cheap thrill element is powerful as a marketing tool and the critical mass has fallen for it like a $2.00 hoe. Love your take bro.

  2. Zitter, you are on fire at the moment! Brilliant.

  3. I agree with your sentiments Peter. I reckon Liz Hurley is the perfect metaphor for cricket these days. Ageing tart who attracts more interest as a novelty act these days, than for anything serious.
    Cant’t age gracefully like a Helen Mirren or Judi Dench, so she just tarts herself about in Elton John’s castoff sunglasses. She plays the cougar to Warnie’s Peter Pan.
    Cricket has the same relevance deprivation midlife crisis.
    Money and ratings rule. I’m watching the golf with the sound off and Bruce Springsteen on the stereo. Thats ageing with class.

  4. Glad you agree Peter and Phil. Again, your sage thoughts cut through to the heart fo the matter. Liz Hurley, fireworks, pyrotechnics .. what teh @I&* is going on with cricket. It kills me to see this devolution.

    PS. The Boss on, the sound down … that is ageing with class.

  5. Andrew Starkie says:

    remember the launch of bbl last summer? not a cricket ball in sight. dougy bollinger was dj. in da hood.

  6. Yep let’s get back to the Ferris Bueller days! Though I can put up with watching Liz Hurley for a little bit….

  7. Doug Bollinger is the perfect example of someone who is clearly ‘uncool’ trying to be ‘cool’. His hair transplant made it hard to take him seriously. The only way I’d have bought in is if instead of hair plugs, he somehow managed to turn in to Teen Wolf.

    In fact, I’d go as far as to say he was the personification when cricket not only jumping the shark, but jumping it with a forward 2 1/2 somersaults and 1 twist in the pike position… not unlike Liz Hurley’s career.

  8. nathan jarvis says:

    Hurley didn’t have a career. She has actually done nothing. That’s why she is perfect for our times and that is why the moment she was awarded to Warney – for a lifetime of cheating on his missus, involving his mum in his lies about drugs and generally being a first-class nong – was the moment when someone should have flicked the off switch on us. We’re done, we’re finished.

    Good piece.

    The short forms of the game are a eugenicist’s dream. It’s like drunk bogan catnip.

  9. Barkly St End says:

    We all yearn to be loved.

    There was a time when I too sat in my corner, thinking that I was too good for the rest of humanity, that I did not need to seek out human company, that it would seek me out, that my extreme intelligence, undeclared genius and incomparable creativity would attract people to me without me needing to do anything more than breath in and out.

    I now realise I need to do more than that.

    I need to let people know that I’m here.

    Around Xmas time, there is no better way of attracting a crowd to your house than to put on some bright, flashing lights. I’m going to get more people that way than if I put an ad in the paper saying I want people to come round to discuss “Finnegan’s Wake” – the work of a visionary or a charlatan?

  10. N eil Anderson says:

    Bueller? Bueller? Loved the use of Ferris Bueller as a reference point and the fact everyone relates to him as ‘the man’. The rest of the class are stuck with phycho-head master and the droning teacher while Ferris does all the things the rest of the school would like to be doing. Bueller? Bueller?
    Not sure if the analogy of Ferris and test cricket in the early seventies quite works. I see Ferris not doing what everyone else was doing and finding clever ways to avoid having a cricket ball hurled at him from some jock during school sports. And I can’t picture him going to the cricket with his mates as a spectator at all.
    Ferris would be invited to the parties because he could arrange for the fake ID’s and would know where to get the booze. But after the party was over he would have nothing to do the Test Cricket types and the beastly swats.
    And Barkly Street End, I can’t believe an old Footscray North boy could ever be up himself as you described. When did you have the epiphany?

  11. Hey Neil

    Yes, I agree Test Cricket isn’t exactly like Ferris Bueller. What I was trying to say is that it was its own man like Bueller. The way I remember the film, Bueller was well respected by everyone: cool kids, geeks, waistoids, burnouts. Bueller’s best friend was neurotic kid and you get a sense that he was more at home with awkward types than the in crowd. As for Cricket, before the short form games, it was kind of the same. It was well respected and popular, but in an esoteric way. It functioned in a dignified way within these parameters. These days, however, it’s trying to funkify itself itself in a desperate grab for market share. That for me, is like trying to get in with the in crowd.

    Cheers

  12. N eil Anderson says:

    Yeah T-Bone, I sort of got what you were saying about Ferris befrore I commented.
    I got a bit carried away when I saw the Ferris Bueller pop-culture reference and I just went for it. There’s no-one in my little country town that would have ever heard of Ferris Bueller so when he got a mention on this website I got a bit excited. The locals here would probably think a Ferris Bueller is some kind of tractor.
    Speaking of iconic ‘rebel’ characters in film, I wrote something recently which made reference to the Paul Newman movie ‘Cool Hand Luke’. After checking out the DVD I saw a lot of parallels between Luke and Ferris. It’s a good movie but you realize just how slow movies were back in the 60’s. Still worth a look though.

  13. “Ferris Bueller is some sort of Tractor,” …. that’s $&*^ing funny

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