Summer Sports

Norm has a link to a splendid cricket joke, and then quotes a sceptic — “You can accuse me of having a short attention span, but I find the whole concept of playing a game for FIVE DAYS to be just the other side of lunacy” — and then comments:

“No, that is the entire secret, and the beauty, of Test match cricket; it is what makes it matchless in all sport. I could go on: speak of unfolding drama, epic quality, individual character on display.”

He might be right, and he may very well be right for Test Match cricket at its very best (which is quite rare). But “matchless” is too strong.Test Matches go on for five days. The Tour de France goes on for three weeks, with a venue even more magnificent than Lord’s — one of the greatest countries in the world, and the only one with both Alps and Pyrenees — and, in a good year (which isn’t uncommon) possesses these rightly celebrated elements of (i) unfolding drama, (ii) epic quality and (iii) individual character in whopping great truckloads. And — just like Test Match cricket — it goes on for hours and hours at a time, can’t be compressed at all adequately into a half-hour highlights show in the evening, and is utterly baffling to those who will never understand.

The World of Blogs is well-equipped for enjoying cycling these days. Blognor Regis has recently been covering the just-finished Giro d’Italia, Backword Dave is a fan, and the Tour de France blog is always useful. This year, the last mountain stage in the Tour is on 19 July; the First Test Match begins on 21 July. So cricket fans have no excuse this year for not paying attention.

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