Our NPR station in this neck of the woods broadcasts the BBC World Report starting at midnight every night. Sadly, it seems I’m working this late more often than not, so I get a taste of what passes for news from our neighbors there “across the pond”. I have to say that it is refreshing to get a different perspective on world events. The BBC covers a lot of things that never even get mentioned in the American press.
Cricket, for instance.
At the top of each hour, the very properly professional (or professionally proper) English voice will intone the headlines of the day. However, it doesn’t matter what they are: assassination, flooding, general upheaval. “It’s the end of the world, you’re listening to BBC World News, but first – the Cricket Report.”
Now, as an American, I have no vested interest in cricket. I’ve never seen a match. I tried to figure it out based on the stories on the BBC. It was like listening to the traffic report. It only makes sense if you have some context. As far as I can tell, there is no slaughter rule in cricket. The BBC would report how India scored 250 runs or Australia came from behind to score an additional 400 runs. It’s also apparently a cathartic way for the former colonies of the British Empire to really stick it to Mother England. It seems like England is always getting its lunch handed to them (or whatever Britishism fits here meaning the same thing).
I looked it up on the Internet and determined Cricket is similar to baseball (actually, since it was apparently invented in the 1500’s, baseball is probably similar to cricket). I’m sure someone saw a leisurely game of cricket and thought they could speed up the game, make it less complicated and make it suitable for American attention spans (yes, sports fans, there’s a game even slower than baseball). I suppose it reflects our American culture of shorter, simpler and faster. It’s sort of similar to how we’ve taken the English language and lopped out all of those unnecessary U’s.