How to appease the cricket Gods
August 30, 2000
Watching cricket on the television is a pasttime with not so glorious uncertainties; namely a dreadful combination of blackouts, "difficulties with CBU" and rain in England.
To combat these three saboteurs requires special skills and a touch of superstition.
The first thing to establish is the night before a Test match you must never, ever say how you are looking forward to getting up early to watch cricket.
Completely block the thought out of your mind. Take lessons in meditation, talk to yourself about Guyanese politics, but do not let one trace of the c... word surface... or else when you wake up there will be one of three things rain, technical difficulties with CBU or a blackout.
Similarly when you do actually wake up, don't rush out of bed to go watch. Be casual; pretend you have forgotten and remark to your wife "Oh isn't there cricket on today?" She will probably groan but it has served the purpose of indicating to the TV cricket gods that you are not really interested in watching. Sidle up to the television, let it linger on Channel 18 where you were watching Benschop the previous night then wander down to GTV...You may be lucky, you may be not. It could be a glorious sunny day at Lords with Caddick spraying the ball down the leg side and Windies on 404 for 3.
Still wishing to appease the gods, it is further recommended that you should never try to eat food in front of the television. Do not, whatsoever ask your honey to please make a nice cup of tea and fry up some eggs while you eagerly anticipate an early morning session of tumbling wickets and bountiful boundaries. That, my brother, is a recipe for disaster. The moment you plunk down in the easy chair, the heavens will open up and you will eat your breakfast as the players scamper off the field and the ground staff scamper on.
Some persons like to watch cricket while listening on the radio. There is nothing wrong with this, except with the radio signal being about 2.5 seconds faster than the television it can be rather disconcerting when Henry Blofield says "Ohhhh! He's bowled him behind the legs!" when the bowler is still running up and the batsman is making final adjustments to his cup.
In the event you do get to watch some uninterrupted cricket, as a West Indies supporter there are quite important rules of etiquette. For example should the England bowlers appeal for an LBW and be denied it is the height of manners to scream "Dey robbin! and "damn cheaters" as you congratulate the umpire on his great wisdom. Similarly should Walsh be denied a "dead in line" LBW one should mention how corrupt the same umpire is or how he "get bribe".
When a West Indian batsman is at the wicket, boundaries no matter how fortunate such as a top edge over third man should be applauded stupendously and young men should be encouraged to mimic the stroke for future reference. When England are batting it is best just to be silent even if the strokes are text book cover drives , finessed late cuts and vicious pulls into the crowd.
Now should West Indies be close to a well-deserved victory every player must be described as brilliant, talented and nice to their mothers. Even Ambrose can be forgiven for his haircut. This is normally when the little victory dances begin. These should really comprise of a clenched fist pulled smartly down as if ringing a church bell and be accompanied by one knee raised up as in a true Calypsonian cricket stroke. The actual victory will of course engender great jubilation if not marred by a blackout which will certainly be deemed as intentional. Nevertheless a fierce debate will begin over who should get man of the match. Any Guyanese players are immediately ruled out because as we all know the rest of the Caribbean's eyes pass Guyanese even though we have produced the greatest players of all time.
Now in the case of an imminent West Indies loss things get rather complicated. The secret to handling this presently too often a situation is to slowly lose interest in the game. If you are home remember how you have those plants to urgently water or rice to pick, if in an office start typing furiously and become engrossed in your assignments, all the while taking a peek to see if there is any chance West Indies could pull it out of the bag. If Ambrose takes a crucial wicket give some light applause but don't commit too much.
If it has been another atrocious performance it is perfectly acceptable to suck your teeth and heavily criticise every member of the team except the two senior bowlers. "King trying to bowl too fast, Jacobs can't bat. Why they got Griffith in the team? Rose is lazy! Everything gone wrong since Lara come back! Lack of technique, they can't play swing!" and if one of them gets run out laugh, laugh! You may be crying inside but still laugh. Girls are of course allowed to weep publicly although not to the extent where onlookers might think a close relative had died. You boys must analyse and criticize. "Drop em all, change the board! Let them pack their bags and fly home today." Everyone should then pretend they never really liked cricket anyway until the next Test match.
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