Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 12, 2008

If Americans Were Cricketers

Ever wonder what Americans would be like if they had learnt cricket from the British? Perhaps they had their revolution too early… Even though the rudimentary form of the game was already introduced to North America in the 17th century, codified rules and amendments were being drawn up just about time the colonies were getting a bit antsy against their British King. And by the time the first recorded test was played in 1877, the Americans were already celebrating 100 years of independence.

The reason I’m rambling about cricket is two-fold. One, because of the book I’m reading, and two, because of the Olympic Games in Beijing. (Looking at the broadcasts in this part of the world we are bombarded with American reporters/commentators who naturally support their own. But in all fairness it’s not as bad as previous years… You remember it – “we won, we won!!! oh, they won… they must be on drugs…”).

In the book, The Tyranny Of Good Intentions (which I must dedicate an entire post to), Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton spoke about the abuse of process by US prosecutors who see their cases as ‘must win’ – even if justice is not served. The authors went further quoting a distinguished English jurist, Lord Patrick Devlin, who had maintained that prosecuting counsel “is to act as a minister of justice and not an advocate, not to press for a conviction but to lay all the facts before the jury, those that tell for the prisoner as those that tell against him…”

It’s natural to want to be competitive – I’ve bent a few people’s ears about this for some time – but the Americans are over competitive. Where did they get this, ‘must win’ attitude? In every competition there’s going to be a winner and a loser, but they just can’t stand being on the losers’ side. It’s anathema to them.  And that’s where cricket comes in…

Now I’ve always had enjoyable conversations about cricket with Americans. It’s either they find it funny, difficult to understand or just plain hilarious, but my ‘skills’ as a teacher/communicator is honed during these conversations. How do you explain to a ‘must win’ guy the part about having a ‘draw’ after playing for five days in a cricket test match? That usually calls for a few drinks I tell you. The gentlemanly conduct, or what should be observed, on the field of play is a stark difference to the yelling with an umpire in a baseball match.

Taken all together, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq – even the democratic primary ‘war’ between Obama and Clinton shows a tenacity to stick with it until there is a result – hopefully a win. My concern with this, certainly not the tenaciousness, is if any rules are bent to get into the winners’ circle.

This post has absolutely no ulterior motives regarding the US eventual haul of medals in the Olympics and no disrespect for the athletes who work hard (drug-free) in their respective disciplines. It’s just cricket…

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