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Christian Origins of Cricket
Being Scots, the truly English game of cricket has always been a deep mystery to me. A letter from an old pal to a website for ex-Fleet Street journalists I subscribe to (www.gentlemenrant...) today de-mystifies its origins:

***David Brammerís and Colin Dunneís question on why newspapermen favour cricket has a theological answer. You can find it in the origins of the game, but basically it is because cricket, like theology and journalism, is a beautiful absurdity.

Cricket was first played by the Benedictine monks of old Catholic England. The wickets were the gates of Hell. The bowling side was the forces of evil made up by Satan and his ten devils: Mephistopheles, Mammon, Baal, Leviathan, Lilith, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Belial and the other two whose names I canít remember. The batting side was made up by the Church represented by the vicar and his curate.

The aim of the bowling side was to hurl a human soul, represented by a small very hard ball, down through the gates of Hell. The aim of the batting side was to deflect the soul away from Hell into the safety of the outer, but not in such a way as caused it to be caught on the rebound by Mephistopheles etc.

It is clearly a religious game because it goes on for five days. It can be won or lost because of the weather, the state of the pitch, or failing light. And quite often there is no clear winner: which is defined either as a draw or as a tie, both of which are quite different ways of not reaching a conclusion.

Some of the best things in life are absolutely nonsensical, and cricket, theology and journalism are three of them.***

Cheers. Neil
Hmm, now i won't be able to watch baseball without thinking about Protestants.
In some places cricket has evolved beyond recognition of the original . Again, much like religion.
Edited by willie on 11/07/2008 15:41
Monty Python used to love to poke fun at cricket here are 2 different takes. and
Edited by derF on 11/07/2008 23:58
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
Hilarious, Derf. Thanks.

The first clip, with the boozing commentators, reminded me of when I was I youngster and had to cover cricket for a local rag I worked on at the time. It was considered a form of extreme punishment for cub reporers who'd overstayed their lunch hours or been caught behind a linotype machine with a secretary.

The matches would drag on all weekend -- and I hadn't a clue of the rules. So I used to pay local schoolboys to keep track of things. I remember that it always seemed to be raining, so the 'crowd' used to spend the days inside the beer tent, which unlike the pubs, never closed.

If anything 'exciting' happened, one of my schoolboys would come in and announce it. The 'crowd' would put down their glasses and wander out. There would be the gentle patter of polite applause, then they would wander back in again and get on with the drinking.

I quite liked cricket.

Cheers. Neil
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