Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Blog, and My Love of Sports Explained

Do you know what happens when you tell someone you write a blog about cricket? They usually ask you why cricket. Well why not cricket? Why should I cover baseball or football or basketball, hell there are thousands upon thousands of people already covering those sports (I left out hockey, because it is something that is occsionally touched upon around here). Anyways , I never had a solid answer, although I am a Boston sports fan (loosely, which will be explained later) I've lately found myself drawn deeper into more "obscure" sports, for which I often receive ribbings about (it's been called "My Canadian Football League on more than one occusion). I wondered what it was that made me enjoy stuff like Cricket, and the CFL, and Rugby. And then I came upon this letter to the editor. But before I print it, a little background:

For some inexplicable reason, there has been debate in the letters to the editor section of my local daily paper (The Providence Journal Bulletin) about whether or not Dennis Eckersley is a good color commentator for Boston Red Sox home games (how this ended up next to the Republican hate speech du jour, I do not know). Anyways, the clearest insight, and probably part of the deeper explanation of my love of sports, came from a name named Leon Urban, who I will now let take it away:

In their evaluation of Dennis Eckersley’s baseball announcing, Fred and Trish DeWolfe hit the nail on the head by noting that “it’s not all about him” (“Dennis is a delight,” letter, July 5).
Having a captive audience, few sports announcers can resist self-promoting (staged?) gimmicks, such as “We Love You” signs, and so on. Incidentally, in its wisdom, the Los Angeles Angels
[Of Anaheim] do not permit such signs in the stands.
Self-promotion is rampant in the media. Clueless news readers have bloviated themselves into huge multimillion-dollar salaries they fear to lose, and too often become the news themselves.
Dennis Eckersley promoted baseball — the game, not just the NESN home-team propaganda. Very refreshing. He reminded viewers that there are other good teams and players in the American League, as there are in the National League.
Many of the guys I grew up with knew every starting lineup in both the American and National leagues. True, they were only eight-team leagues. Radio and TV announcers made this learning easy by relating pertinent information, nearly every inning, from around the two leagues: scores, homers, winning pitchers, etc. And such information was given in a tone meant to promote the game, not to incite fans to behave like fools in the stands or in bars or in living rooms.

That second paragraph is what really stands out in my mind, I live in the middle of "Red Sox Nation" I'm supposed to live and die by this team, but often I don't care. The joy of being a fan has been sucked away by this expectation that the team will always do well, and the team does well on behalf of the fans, and if the team sucks, then they are personally failing many of the people who "root" for them. But when I'm watching Cricket, that isn't there, I'm learning little things about every man who steps out onto that pitch, there are 22 people who after that day has ended, I will probably know a little more about, and in between I'll watch an exciting sporting event where men aren't out to promote themselves, but they do it for love of country, or for team pride (yeah some of them do it for money, but that's how society is, and you have to ignore it) I don't get announcers with agendas, I get announcers that are trying to teach me something, or tell me the story of the match, and it's that, that true understanding that sees me the fan as more than a dollar sign, that makes me love cricket, and want to share that experience with everyone who reads this.