The Gentleman’s Game?

Posted on August 27, 2008


In Sri Lanka, cricket is a passion that borders on religion. And I don’t just mean that as a comparison.

The day of a match, productivity at workplaces hits a slump, and school kids smuggle in little radio’s to keep up with the scores. That cup-wielding beggar on the street pavement can serve as a reliable enough source to fill in an uninformed passer-by on who just got whom out. We buy the team jerseys just to wear when we’re at home watching the game, hoping our supportive vibes will somehow radiate through the TV and onto the players.

All this, just for a test match.

So you can just imagine the hype involved in a proper one-day, let alone the World Cup.  

You should watch my mum. No-one who sees her on a day-to-day basis would figure that this woman can transform into a rowdy fanatic at the click of a button. Dad’s the more sober sort..but if a wicket goes down in our favour, the fan in him will an oh-so-dramatic ‘yes!’

The team players are revered all over the country, via billboards and adverts that that have absolutely no relevance to the sport. We can recognize their wives from the stands, and their cars on the streets; sort of like what football is to the rest of the world.

In fact there’s a match taking place as I type. Those fortunate enough to have access to cable can bask in the luxury of pressing their faces onto their flatscreens. But my poor deprived (yet dedicated) soul will have to settle for reading the play-by-play commentary online.

It’s dangerous, this addiction we possess, but as a county that’s been through so much for far too long, this is the tape that holds the broken pieces together. And our heroes in blue, save us in more ways than they’ll ever know.


Posted in: lanka, life, sport