Recent Comments

August 2009
« Jul   Sep »

DeeAnne White: I want to be English. Or Australian.

August 13th, 2009 by TWC in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes


As we’re almost at the end of the Ashes, I have a confession to make. I want to be English. Or Australian. I want to live this experience as only a citizen of the countries involved can. I want to feel the euphoria leading up to the first day of the first Test. I want to be desperate for the series to begin but so tortured about the outcome that I’m almost unable to watch. I want to be part of the love/hate relationship that is England versus Australia during the Ashes.

It doesn’t stop there. I want to be English to know that my country is the home of this gorgeous game called cricket. I want to be English to taunt my friends for looking like a “tourist”. I want to be English to know that, in the end, I will suffer any gut-wrenching defeat with a stiff-upper lip and a comment of “well played”, and then quietly plot my revenge. Conversely, I want to be Australian to be the brash rogues of the cricket world. I want to be Australian to taunt my English friends for being free from the evil British Empire. I want to be Australian to know that if a loss may come, I will grit my teeth, curse under my breath and vow to die before ever allowing it to happen again.

The Ashes is unlike anything I’ve seen in sport before. I’ve watched a great deal of all sorts of sport and have had my heart broken many times by the loss of my favourite team. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, perhaps most synonymous with modern Arsenal – endless potential, yet left at the altar time and again. Yet this agony still can’t compare to that involved in the Ashes.

The big difference between this sort of rivalry and the contests I’m familiar with is that the Ashes represent something on an altogether grander scale. In the US, the rivalries are between American teams only, think the Dallas Cowboys versus the San Francisco 49ers (American football), the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Boston Celtics (Basketball) or the New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox (Baseball). These are wonderful rivalries – akin to Manchester United versus Liverpool or Lancashire against Yorkshire – but it’s just not the same.

Americans only get the excitement and adrenaline of that type when the Ryder Cup or the Olympics come around. We love it, too. When you see how the US went wild at our women’s soccer success on home soil in the 1999 World Cup, it’s a mystery to me why we haven’t become more involved in the team sports that are played on a highly competitive level between nations. We’ve tried to fill the void by announcing ourselves as the “World Champions” in sports that only we play but it’s a hollow title.

Cricket, rugby, and soccer are all part of this wonderful club that we’ve isolated ourselves from. It’s well known that the first international cricket match was played between the US and Canada at Bloomingdale Park in New York in 1844. Why didn’t we continue to participate in international cricket? Did the oceans that separated us from the rest of the world make it cost prohibitive for too many years, or was it something else? Were we too hasty to distance ourselves from the countries of our origins and their sport, as we did with languages and other customs? What a terrible loss. I can only hope that as the economy becomes more global, the sporting world will become smaller too and that the United States will re-engage in world sports on a broader scale. Until then, I’ll have to live vicariously through the people I come across as I follow cricket.

I have close friends in England and Australia. I enjoy the similarities as much as the differences and I’m having great fun winding up both my English and my Australian pals about what’s going on. I’m mostly happy to be an American but just for today, or maybe the next two weeks, I want to be English. Or Australian.

DeeAnne White is the American girl at the cricket

Posted in Australia, England, Test cricket, The Ashes |

15 Responses to “DeeAnne White: I want to be English. Or Australian.”

  1.   jim says:

    Love your enthusiam about our 2nd sport, although to be honest it should be our first, but sadly is not. Soccer with over-paid premma-donnas is our number one sport.

    What a refreshing and insightful couple of blogs you have posted ms white. And i hope for everbody’s sake here in good old blighty the english team can bat properly this time around and as for being aussie or english try getting your fellow americans more interested

  2.   David says:

    DeeAnne, It is always great to hear about Americans in love with the game, especially as I made the reverse trip. Enjoy the last test!

  3.   jim says:

    I agree with david and i was not having a go at you DeeAnne, and i would never badger a lady your good self.

    Like david, you know the enjoyment and agony. That both our nations go through, it is good to read from a neutral perspective.

    i just want more americans like yourself to get the tingle of excitement, when the when the games start.

    Please believe me DeeAnne your thoughts are most engaging and a breath of fresh air keep your writing up

  4.   DeeAnne says:

    I so enjoy the comments, and very much appreciate the encouragement!
    Looking forward to the final Ashes Test, and all other cricket I have the good fortune to see.
    Best regards, D

  5.   Lee says:

    As an Aussie, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, i hereby grant you an honourary Australian Citizen. See, i even spelled it with a “u”.

  6.   DeeAnne says:

    I am very honoured Lee, and as a Southern California girl, there’s a perfect symmetry there somehow! LOL

  7.   Morgan says:

    Being an American born in the great white north of Wisconsin, I feel your pain all to accutely. I also wish that I had been born in Australia or England so i could transfer some of this passion for cricket into a passion for ‘my’ team.

  8.   DeeAnne says:

    I think more and more American fans have become dissillusioned, as all of our major sports have become completely run by owners & players love of money, and not love of the game. Many average US families can no longer afford to attend an American football or basketball game. Tragic.

  9.   Edward Craig says:

    Money making is doing its best to ruin cricket as well. Bloated schedules, Twenty20 overkill, ridiculous sponsoring of everything (would you ever hear ‘it’s another FedEx Home Run’ at a baseball game?), restrictive television contracts… And the ticket prices for Tests in the UK are pricing out many fans.

    Cricket has plenty of the same issues but luckily the fundamental sport is good enough and the rivalries so hard-wired that it survives.

  10.   Paddy Briggs says:

    Full price ticket for Baltimore Orioles vs. Cleveland Indians on 29/8 $55 (=£33.50). Full price ticket for first day of The Oval Test match £80.

  11.   DeeAnne says:

    I understand what you’re saying about cricket and the mighty GBP. I was especially surprised to learn that many test matches are only on subscription television. I agree this may be one of the biggest dangers to the survival of test cricket. However, I haven’t decided if having to pay to watch, or being bombarded with commercials every 5 minutes during a televised sporting event in the US is worse.

    In the States, we’ve retreated to being bigger fans of our university sport teams, as a way of going back to a simpler time, when athletes played for the simple love of the game.

    You’re very fortunate that the fundamental sport of cricket is so good though, we have nothing to compare, and I’ve often said I admire the English fan’s love of their county cricket team and their local football club.

  12.   DeeAnne says:

    Thank you for the comparison Paddy, and to your point, baseball is our final sport that can be affordable, especially if you go see teams like Cleveland or Baltimore. That would be more synonymous with a county cricket match in my book though.

    For major market teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, etc we have an approved, thriving brokerage (tout) business that can still price out the average fan.

    In terms of something that could even come close to comparison with the Ashes, perhaps a playoff or World Series ticket, it would be astronomically priced if you could even find one to purchase. Prices generally start at hundreds of dollars, going up to thousands of dollars.

    I’m not certain you can use the exchange rate either, as an American feels the full $55 dollar price tag.

  13. » Blog Archive » DeeAnne White: Why America Needs Cricket says:

    [...] DeeAnne White is the American girl at the cricket [...]

  14.   Bryan Person says:

    Great post, DeeAnne! I’m a fellow Yank who had a chance to “be Australian” for a couple of years, living Down Under from parts of 2001-2003 and learning all about cricket. In fact, I even took in an Ashes game between the 2 teams at the Gabba in Brisbane in early November 2002 … and then one day at the Adelaide Oval later that month.

    I admired the incredible energy and creativity cheers of the Barmy Army, even as its team was getting its ass kicked. The Aussie crowd was decidedly less theatrical, but its “look at the scoreboard!” retort was often more than sufficient.

    I’ve grown up with baseball, and as a Red Sox fan, so Red Sox-Yankees is intense as it gets for me (the 2004 ALCS comes to mind). But you’re quite right: Following the Ashes is something else!

    I plan to make it back to Australia to enjoy a future series one of these years. And when I do, I expect the Aussies to resume their ass-kicking!

  15.   DeeAnne says:

    Lucky you Bryan. You’ve definitely gotten the Aussie trash talk down! LOL

    I’ve been told by Australian cricket fans that I haven’t really seen cricket until I’ve seen it in Adelaide. I look forward to that opportunity someday, perhaps during the next Ashes.


Leave a Reply

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved