Yesterday I was introduced to cricket, the second most popular sport in South Africa (after soccer and before rugby), and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Being an ignorant American, my impression of cricket was that it was a gentlemanly (read: boring) “sport” in which the players wear sweater vests and take frequent breaks for tea and crumpets while the audience watches the “action” through opera glasses. Basically, I thought a cricket match would look like this:
Turns out, though, cricket is kinda fun! And the players are kinda hunky! For example: we were sitting directly behind this guy, Michael Lumb (who was playing for Sydney but happens to be from Joburg), for the first half of the game:
Yay for cricket.
We went to a “Twenty20” final match between the local team, the Highveld Lions, and the Sydney Sixers. I won’t try to reproduce the rules of cricket here but suffice it to say that I actually followed the game (at least, the basic outlines thereof) and was not completely bored. Which is more than I can say for baseball.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the game was the wildly uncoordinated dance troupe that performed every time either team got an out or scored a point. The male members of the ensemble were forced to wear shiny red vests with no shirt underneath (a la Matthew McConaghey in Magic Mike), cowboy hats, and exercise pants with one leg rolled up. Not cute, you guys. Also, they sucked at dancing.
Anyway, cricket was a good time. I was a little disappointed that no crumpets were served, but beer and biltong were available, so that made up for a lot.
Here’s a picture of the sky over the cricket pitch. Not bad, Johannesburg.