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DeeAnne White: Why America Needs Cricket

September 1st, 2009 by TWC in Miscellaneous, Test cricket, The Ashes


As you may already know, I adore cricket. As a new fan, I am continually amazed by this strikingly beautiful game and it’s parallels to life. I see so much in cricket that is good, generous and noble, and I’ve come to believe that America needs cricket. Cricket could be the answer to many of her problems and a salve for her soul.

A simple act by Andrew Strauss at the Edgbaston Test got me thinking. His decision to allow Australia to replace an injured man at the last moment wasn’t required but it was a decent and honourable thing to do. It was the thought of protecting the sport, respecting a historic rivalry and ensuring the spectators’ experience that had a very competitive man do the right thing. If the American corporate culture were to follow suit, we might have escaped some of the economic turmoil the world has experienced in the past 18 months.

I don’t want to give the impression that Strauss’ action on that day was unique either. As any cricket watcher knows, these gestures are played out on a daily basis at every level around the world. Even in the midst of a heated rivalry behaving properly is the epitome of honour.  If ever there was a place to look for many of humanity’s best qualities it is the cricket field.

Due to America’s isolation from the true world sports, we’ve missed priceless lessons in tolerance, acceptance and learning from other nations. America has so many fine qualities but a few devastating blind spots as well. We are a nation of immigrants and many of us, or our ancestors, left homelands to seek greater financial opportunity in the States, or to escape hardship. It’s one of the best things about the United States but America has somehow come to believe that given the choice everyone would want to live in our country.

I’ve learned that nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve met many people around the world that love visiting the States, and they find many wonderful things about our country but they don’t want to move there. When you follow international sport on a regular basis, you learn how beloved other countries are to their citizens, and why. If you have the luxury of travelling to watch your country compete, you learn the history and culture of your opponent and you see the beauty of that country through its citizens’ eyes. I’ve so enjoyed seeing cricket in different countries and meeting the people that love the sport and their country. Many Americans opinions of other countries would change if they had this opportunity.

I suppose the bigger question would be whether cricket needs America? America has the potential to bring millions of fans and massive revenue to the game, but what damage would it bring? The States has a unique style and personality that could enrich cricket but we must conform to the game’s fiercely protected history and traditions. Finally, something that does not yield to America’s wishes, does not think America’s way is the best way and yet still accepts the exuberance and optimism of a great country. Dean Jones recently told me that the United States was “the final frontier” for cricket but there are considerable obstacles the game must clear before becoming a major force.

Yes, America needs cricket, if only to remind her of all the grand tenets she was founded on, like honour and respect for others, in all things; and to help her understand all that is great about the countries from where many of her citizens come.

DeeAnne White is the American girl at the cricket

Posted in Miscellaneous, Test cricket, The Ashes |

11 Responses to “DeeAnne White: Why America Needs Cricket”

  1. » Blog Archive » DeeAnne White: Why … | americantoday says:

    [...] has so many fine qualities but a few devastating blind spots as well. … Read more here: » Blog Archive » DeeAnne White: Why … Share and [...]

  2.   Gridman says:

    I completely agree that we need more Cricket in the USA.

    However, that said, the spirit of the game infusing its fans with a greater sense of fair play sure worked well for Allen Stanford…

  3.   Brett says:

    As a cricket loving American, I’m in total agreement. But where are you going to find Americans who can play cricket at a professional level? It’s fun to imagine but hard to envision.

    The ICC could dip a toe in with an All-Star T20 exhibition tour through the States.

  4.   S says:

    What damage would it bring ?

    Some of us who are extremely conservative are glad that cricket has not taken root in America because we fear that it will change the nature of the game. Mainstream American sports are all based on brute-force - basketball, baseball or american football - have little to do with gentleness or beauty. We fear that Laras playing a beautiful cover drives will be replaced by Barry Bonds types who slog three sixes every over. There would be 6′11″ fast bowlers who bowl at 120 mph. And so on. We don’t expect you to have patience for anything more than T-20.

    May be we are paranoid but that is the way we are. There used to be a time when the Philadelphians played cricket, and they did it the “proper” way, but times were different then.

  5.   DeeAnne says:

    Well played comment on Stanford! Dead on, if the allegations are proved to be true. I do respect the fact that he tried to turn himself in, but the government wasn’t ready to charge him, so they turned him away. Am I naive in hoping for remorse, at least??

    As for the worries of what damage could be brought by the States, I do understand your fears and I share them, in fact. America has athletes that are able to understand other games of finesse, such as golf or tennis, but cricket might be more easily overtaken by the 6′11″ fast bowler in your example. If this were to occur, it would be devastating to American cricket lovers, too. We already have baseball. The beauty of cricket is in the difference.

  6.   raz says:

    where are all you pepole living cricket has been amercanised…………IPL

  7.   Viscount Crouchback says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the thrust of this article. Isn’t baseball, for instance, full of hidden rituals and tacit courtesies that often befuddle the causal observer? Take the idea that a player who scores a home run when his team is thrashing the opposition should refrain from over-celebrating. One can only dream of such decorum in cricket when a chap scores a century.

    Equally, I don’t doubt that there are plenty of parochial and chauvinistic Americans, but their number is surely dwarfed by arrogant souls elsewhere who foolishly imagine that their cobbled together image of America from movies and TV shows somehow permits them great insight into the place.

  8.   DeeAnne says:

    I very much appreciate your comments, and I do believe Americans can be judged too harshly based on stereotypes and our government’s decisions. I’m happy to know that more and more people are willing to look at the individual, no matter where they’re from, rather than the country of origin.

    On the other note, baseball (another glorious game) indeed has a great deal that is lost on the casual observer, and it is my other favourite sport for reasons such as that. However, most of our reserve at celebrating is due to the consequences we might face. In baseball, for instance, the opposing pitcher has been known to throw at the next batter’s head for the prior display of poor sportsmanship. In sports like American football, the offending team would receive a penalty from the officials for excessive celebrating at any time, including a come from behind victory.

    While no sport, or country, is perfect, one of the things you would never see are the opposing fans standing for an opponent’s achievement, such as a century. In the States, we would reserve that sort of action for an instance of great significance, like a long standing record being broken.

    As I’ve said in previous articles, I enjoy my own country, and its sport. I also see places where we could learn a great deal from others, and I believe it has not been our strong suit to do so.

  9.   ICC Championships Cricket Live » Why America needs cricket says:

    [...] Nice piece from The Wisden Cricketer. [...]

  10.   The Joy of Travelling to Follow Sport — Live The Charmed Life says:

    [...] game on their home pitch. I’ve also written for WisdenCricketer about what I think my fellow Americans and I have missed out on by not playing the world sports at a highly competitive le…. It seems yet another reason that many Americans choose not to travel abroad is that we don’t [...]

  11.   ankit says:

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