Thursday, December 14, 2006

100 not out: My first century of posts

This is my 100th post on this blog. Some of those posts were short announcements and some—well, they weren’t as short.

The title of this post is—for my American friends—a reference to cricket,
New Zealand’s summer game (and the only truly national sport in Australia). Some Americans (you know who you are) have said to me that watching cricket is like watching paint dry. Clearly, they thought I was talking about golf tournaments. I admit, though, that test cricket isn’t an easy game to love if you don’t grow up with it (or, probably, even if you have). It’s played over five days and may result in a draw.

One Day Internationals, however, are another matter altogether. They have much of the excitement of a professional baseball game, and take about the same amount of time. But they’re nation v. nation, unlike baseball, so it has a certain additional excitement just because of that.

But the truly important factor, of course, is that cricket has a higher percentage of attractive players than
US baseball does. Actually, that’s true for rugby v. American football, too.

Americans may not realise it, but cricket has influenced American culture. One may say a difficult situation is “a sticky wicket”, or if something’s not proper, “it’s just not cricket”. Lesser-known cricket references are used in
America, too.

US also has a national cricket team, and if most of the players’ names seem to have their origins in India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, they nevertheless are playing for America. There are also local cricket clubs in many parts of the country.

I quite like cricket now but, to be honest, it took me awhile to understand it. Well, sort of—I still don’t understand all the rules, and some of the statistics the commentators drag up are truly bizarre: “He’s the first player with a two-syllable surname to ever play on a Thursday of a month with an “M” in it and hit for six after having a mince and cheese pie for lunch.”

The phrase I used in the title of this post—100 not out—is usually used to describe someone who’s hit 100 runs and is still able to play, even if the side isn’t (like play has ended for the day, or more likely, the side has completed its overs). Put more simply, it means the batsman has done well and isn’t out. One hundred runs is called “a century”, which is where the other part of the title comes from.

So when I say “100 not out,” I’m really saying that I’ve completed 100 posts, but I’m not out yet. Hopefully, I’ll hit a few sixes with future posts, but sometimes I’ll just have to be happy if I avoid a duck.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Black Caps are about to take on
Sri Lanka for the second in a two test series. Rest easy: You won’t be reading a report on that match in this blog.

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