Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Catching up

Well, I was going to write about the Loyalist riots, suggesting that perhaps they are a sign that the Republican strategy was working - first get the British and Irish governments on side, then see if you can split the unionist bloc - so far the Unionists have resisted and instead rallied to Paisley's mob. Perhaps the turn to violene will bring in the British state on the republican side? Events dear boy. Events.

Anyway, I don't wanna talk about that., In the tradition of CLR James I want to talk about Cricket. England won the Ashes. I know, I know, puritanical leftists should despise sport as an organised distraction, a carnival of patriotism and false consciousness, a tool for instilling discipline and workplace ethos in the working class. Yes, I know I should ironically talk of revolutionary defeatism (as I practised when the England football team got stuffed by Northern Ireland).

But I can't. I loved the series, I loved the aching intensity and uncertainty, the pure theatricality of the matches. I took time off work on Monday to be able to concentrate on the final day, to appreciate - as it turned out - Pietersen's spawny century (dropped twice!). All sport is theatre, and cricket even more so, as the game is never decided until the very end, every can, and often does, change.

I don't want to sound like Simon Jenkins in the Guardian but cricket does embody a set of values, is a recuperation of something. Its basically dialectic structure - it's a team game of individual attainment, the crucial movments are played out one on one batsman against bowler - and yet the bowler is nothing without a team of fielders and the batsman nothing without their running partner (I must, at this point, remind my gentle readers that the England Women's cricket team also won the ashes - I hope this does women's cricket a power of good).

The crowd can sit in passive silence, to let out a roar of pure passion for the dismissal, the dropped catch, the gorgeous hit for six; and can - and will - roar, applaud and cheer for acts of grace, power and beauty from the opposing side.

I'd suggest that it is a truly aesthetic game, encompassing the whole person - passion, pleasure, intellect, values - and that is the secret of its enduring success. It's as near as many people get to theatre, and it's enough.


Blogger Darren said...

"I took time off work on Monday to be able to concentrate on the final day . . ."

Did you phone in well? It's an old joke, but it comes in handy every once in a while.

6:39 PM  

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