The chances are you unwittingly refer to England’s National Sport on a regular basis.
Do you ever find yourself ‘stumped’? Have you ever been ‘bowled over’ by someone or something? Have you felt that someone is ‘on a sticky wicket’ or do you know someone who has ‘had a good innings’? What about turning up to something ‘off your own bat’ or have you managed to catch someone out?
With a shroud of mystery around its origins, it may surprise you to know that England’s National Sport now has an estimated 2.5 Billion followers around the world! To put that in context – Baseball has 550 Million followers worldwide and Basketball 800 million followers. Cricket is second only to Football (Soccer) which is the number one world sport at 4 billion fans, but it isn’t England’s ‘National Sport’!
Some suggest that the ‘Weald’ area of Southeast England was the first place the game was played back in Saxon or Norman times and it was known as a ‘children’s sport’ till the early seventeenth century.
Cucumber sandwiches, village greens, the thwack of leather on willow, putting on the whites, padding up, these are terms many of you may be familiar with, seen often as quintessentially English and yet the sport is arguably more popular overseas than in its home nation. (Those who love the sport may take me to task on that).
If you live or have lived near a village green you may be familiar with the sound of cricket being played at the weekend; a Sunday game on a quiet summers day. There is something incredibly comforting about hearing those unique sounds gently reaching your ears. It’s an experience that can draw anyone to the game.
I always get a little rush of joy if I drive somewhere and see a local game underway; something inside says we should make time to enjoy the experience, to be outside, with others, chatting, eating, drinking and watching a game that is technical, nuanced, quiet, subtle and explosive.
The game has something for everyone from Test matches to ‘Twenty20’ and the season started in Mid April and it runs till the end of September.
You can take a walk in the vicinity and casually saunter past, go to more effort and put a picnic hamper together, alternatively find a green with a pub on it or check out the local clubhouse offerings:
Your May ‘Make Life Special’ challenge is to find a cricket match near you and enjoy a sport that 2.5 billion people adore.
If you enjoy a day out in May you have plenty more opportunity to get involved in the months ahead – ‘cricket isn’t just for May’.
Play Cricket.com: Find a local Club or Competition Search by Keyword (County and scroll down to select the County Cricket option then all fixtures) or change ‘Search by keyword’ to ‘Search by Postcode’ to find a club near you.