This morning, Nick and I are changing our routine to accommodate events that are occurring three or four thousand miles away. One of our favourite cricket teams, Sri Lanka, is playing England, and with the magic of the internet and some broadcasting companies, we’re going to be able to watch. Because of the time zone differences, last night we carefully mapped out who does what when, so that I still get to work on time but that I can see as much of the game as possible.
It feels like a treat. Voluntarily, I’ve left my warm, cozy bed almost a full hour earlier and instead of resentment I’m feeling happy anticipation. It’s a bit lonely, though, as cricket does not have a big following here. No one at work follows. There’s never any cricket news on the radio or in the newspapers. Baseball, hockey, soccer yes, cricket no. So physically, except for Nickolas, I have no one to share the fun and excitement of following the drama of the game, the backstories of the players, and the meaning of all the statistics.
But as soon as the game begins, I feel I’m with thousands (millions, if the Indians are watching) of knowledgeable fans. The people in the stands, the contributors and commenters at CricInfo, the broadcasters, the current and former players…there are herds of enthusiasts all voicing their opinions. For a few hours I’m hooked up with lives in far away countries. I see adverts for unfamiliar products and listen to English spoken with a wide variety of accents. And when it’s over and I leave the computer, all that magic is swallowed up in a kind of silence. The weather returns to what I woke up to, the sun returns to its usual place in the sky, the traffic moves past in its usual fashion and I’m back in Ontario where cricket doesn’t seem to exist.
It’s a fun disorientation, like when you put down a book you’ve been absorbed in. And I always feel like I’ve learned more than just who scored runs. I feel I’ve broadened my understanding of humanity by participating, however lightly, in another’s culture.
And besides, it’s fun!