Posts

On Coaching an American High School Cricket Team

The closest sporting comparison for the American cricket neophyte in terms of rules and gameplay is the national pastime itself, baseball, in which a player also tries to hit with a wooden bat a ball propelled at her, and then, after hitting the ball, runs toward a specific zone where she is considered safe from being called “out.”  Fielders in both sports first attempt to catch the ball in the air, and, if they can’t, they must at the very least endeavor to keep the ball from going past them before throwing the ball back toward the specific safe zone to which the batsman runs hoping to curtail the batting team’s total score.  There are innings and an outfield and an infield.  Umpires, pads, masks, etc.  The two sports are undoubtedly similar in this regard.  So as I recruit players for the high school cricket team I have started, I tend to go after former or out-of-season baseball players the way an Italian language teacher might comb the Spanish class for dissatisfied students in o…

Literary Criticism, Gravestones, West Indies, Early Ashes Stuff

Well after a lengthy furlough, I’m back—for the time being, at least.  I’ve taken the past month or so to complete an application for a Literature PhD program as it’s one of those things that’s always been in the back of my mind, one of those life goals that a person must attempt to accomplish or else go to his grave with the nagging feeling that, no matter what he’s done with his time on earth, he’s out for 99.  I’m inspired by Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones, what can I say?  If you’ve read this blog before, and I know that’s not a lot of people, you’ll know that Malan is my favorite player and Roland-Jones—a good Middlesex man—ranks high on my list, as well.  Both of these players looked as though they might miss out on England selection despite their relative dominance in the County championship over the past few years and, in Malan’s case, some impressive spells in a couple foreign T20 leagues.  Recently, though, they’ve gotten their caps and played well enough to join their c…

Allrounders, Big Cities, New Orleans, Kids, England Test Cricket

We’ve a new allrounder on our team, Sachin, who, like his namesake did for any team he was in, transforms the very nature of our side from not very good to hey, we might win every once in a while.  A fast bowler, a batsman capable of putting in a big score on his day, we reaped the benefits when Sachin moved to our town from Los Angeles.  And before you go thinking that he honed his skill against tougher competition—the massive L.A. must have a better overall standard than the biggest city in Missouri—Sachin himself insists this isn’t true.  There are a couple of world beaters there, he says, but the overall standard remains higher in St. Louis, he says.  There are more leagues in L.A.—probably twenty times more—but because of that, the talent tends to spread itself all over Orange County whereas, in St. Louis, cricket hotbed that it is, all the talent condenses into just two or three super-leagues, creating, he says, the highest standard of competition he has faced outside of India.…

Heatwaves, Physics, Streaming Shows (Inside Edge!), England, West Indies

We’re finally getting to the end of a massive heat wave that has plagued my hometown for the better part of two weeks, and let me tell you: nothing keeps me from getting things done like a heat wave. I’m one of those people, I’ve figured out, who needs to get up and accomplish something early if I am to be in any way productive for the remainder of the day. It’s one of those objects that are in motion tend to stay in motion things. If I wake up and, say, water the flowers or type a blog post as the sun is rising, the potential converts to kinetic and I’m off. It’s a little like building a cricket innings. You don’t need to swing for sixes on the first few balls, but you need to do something to get yourself going, to build that momentum, or you’re destined for one of those thirty ball fives and then everyone’s mad at you because you burned five overs just blocking into the ground. No, you have to take those early singles, rotate the strike, procure a little momentum to get yourse…

A Day at the Races

While it is true that I tend to favor relatively modern, complicated team sports over their minimalistic ancestors, there’s a part of me that longs for the simplicity of the one-on-one objectivity of the original Olympic classics.  I love cricket’s abstruse strategy, in other words, but for each tactical conquest in a modern team sport, there seems to be something of a protest from the defeated side, who, at times, might feel as though their superior athleticism and/or skill should have seen them through to the victory if it weren’t for these more complex sports offering the comparatively inferior team the opportunity to outsmart the other and eventually win the match despite sometimes being outplayed from every angle.  I think immediately of my beloved Arsenal, the team that plays with as much panache as any in the world, yet, despite their dominant passing percentage, their preponderance of shots on target, their control of the game have found themselves all too often in the last d…

The Writing Process, Fireworks, Gardening, Joe Root

Well, I’m back after a bit of a hiatus, reader, but don’t think that means I haven’t been writing.  I haven’t been writing it down, that’s true, but I have been living, after all, and that is an indispensable aspect of the writing process: you have to be alive, first and foremost.  If you’re dead or otherwise insensible, you can’t do anything.  Next, you have to register your experiences—something that everyone does either consciously or subconsciously—and then you kind of have to codify your perception into comprehensible prose that accurately communicates to the reader these hardly perceptible perceptions of yours.  Only then do you write it down, a part of the process that comprises only about five percent of the process, yet we tend to attribute to it one hundred percent of the weight because—and this is at least logical—the written down stuff is the only part the audience actually gets.   They don’t see the experiences, they don’t perceive what they don’t see, and they don’t wit…

Librarians, McDonald's, Restaurants, Paradoxes, Dawid Malan

My wife has decided recently, for a variety of reasons, to leave the teaching profession and to become a librarian, a change in career that called for attaining a whole new Master’s degree in addition to the normal challenges that accompany leaving one job and finding another.  She finished the degree earlier this summer, applied for a slew of librarian positions, and now has gotten a job for next school year—quite an accomplishment.  Her parents, my in-laws, took us out to a nice, well-regarded restaurant last evening for a bit of a celebration, and let me tell you, reader: this place is good.  It has long been one of my favorite restaurants in our city, and after our meal last evening, I’d say it has taken the cake as my preferred eating and drinking establishment in the metropolitan area by some distance.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: McDonald’s must be different in your area than it is in mine because I’d never choose McDonald’s as my favorite restaurant.  I mean, it’s good …