Escaping the Boredom of Cricket to Immerse Myself in the Premier League

Photo by i y e r s

Salvation is here! The English football season is back.

I’ve been trying to fill the summer void by taking to cricket but it’s been challenging. In the text commentary for the previous Test match against India, for example, several cricket fans fretted about being “dragged kicking and screaming” to soporific events by their domineering wives. “Soporific” was their pretentious word, by the way. After I looked that one up I then noticed in the online commentary some hapless fella admitting to being bundled into the back of his car as his wife and mother-in-law searched for some Welsh furniture. Another effete fan let his wife swipe his cell phone so he couldn’t check the score.

Thank goodness English football season is here. At least those fans have a bit more gumption, a bit more pride; it’s clear who wears the pants.

As for the, ummm, action on the pitch, well, by cricket standards it was rollicking but that’s a pretty low bar. Consider that the other day in the third Test against India they started late because of rain but nevertheless stopped action to enjoy drinks — on the field, no less — after a scoring a few measly runs. Just as I was catching on to their tactics and getting the peculiar lingo down, they were off to the pavilion for a prompt lunch. Blimey, your average soccer fan exerts more effort celebrating one goal than most of those cricketers.

I suppose I can understand the tea breaks; After all, everything in Old Blighty stops for tea. Even when the batsmen endeavor to actually run between the wickets and are having a good ol’ slog at the ball, tea must not wait. When cricket actually broke out between all of the drink and tea and crumpet breaks, England did quite well… but I’m so relieved it’s time for a real sport.

As someone with the misfortune of having Crystal Palace as his home team, I have adapted by enjoying good English football wherever it’s played… and that’s not usually Selhurst Park. Now 6,000 miles removed from the cauldron, I can sit back, relax, and just hope the ref gets out of the way and lets the best team — or the underdog if they deserve it — win.

For this relatively impartial observer, it would be nice to see a new Premier League champion. But what I really hope is that someone knocks Barcelona off their pedestal in the Champions League. They are admired the world over and many pundits label them the greatest team ever, but now I’m really getting sick of them. Their short, precise passes intersecting pretty little triangles as they inexorably walk the ball into the opponents net is obviously effective, but after a few games of that I tire of the pedantic pace. I long for a bit of excitable, smash-mouth stuff even if a few passes go astray.

After 3 months of cricket-induced stupor, give me some traditional long ball, clanging of heads, and direct play. Technical skills are a nice bonus, but give me some committed challenges, a bit of recklessness, fast counter attacks and some good ol’ argy-bargy. Gimme some English Premier League soccer.

12 thoughts on “Escaping the Boredom of Cricket to Immerse Myself in the Premier League”

  1. Nice piece, Noel. I agree the EPL may not be the most technical or tactically sophisticated, but it’s probably the most exciting.
    I remember Chelsea really took it to Barcelona a few years ago, and probably should’ve won if not for bad ref decisions. Lets hope somewhat can repeat without suffering the usual Barcelona favoritism from officials.

  2. Are Uniteds CL groups not determined by their seeding level earned previously? Also the two previous occasions when United or Barca could actuallyknock each other out it was Barca who went out (1998/9 and 2007/8)

  3. At least the English cricket team offers you somwething the football team doesn’t, winning and being among the best in the world. If England win the series with India they will become the top test team in the world. Beat that you footie losers! :-)

  4. Noel — While I, too, appreciate the return of the EPL, I do not look football in the same vein as cricket, especially test matches such as the ENG v. IND match you mention. When I watch a football match it is my sole focus. However, when I watch, listen, or follow cricket, I am going about my day’s activities and the cricket, while just as important as the football, is on the periphery.

    A large part of that is due to living in the states. I can’t get down to Lords or Edgebaston. Being on the grounds forces me to be more immersed in the game. Watching online or listening to Test Match Special does not lend itself to being completely focused as watching the EPL.

  5. As per Gary and Tim. Comparing Cricket and Football may not be 100% fair. Cricket, like baseball, has to judged in a world of its own. The test series vs India has actually been a good one, and – England may come out being the top test team in world; that’s not going to happen anytime soon on the Football side. Your points about the football season breaking up the doldrums of Summer are well taken however.

  6. Test Match Special is quality broadcasting – they spend 90% of the time talking about non-cricket related matters such as seagulls and pigeons that fly past, which bus routes pass by the stadium and the type of cake fans have sent in for the commentary team. Eventually they do get around to telling you what is going on out on the field, but it definitely seems to be of secondary importance. Listening to TMS while I’m at work has been a feature of my summer, but I’m very glad that the football season starts again this weekend!

  7. You Brits should give up on cricket and play baseball in the summer. Leave cricket to those who enjoy polo and crew.

  8. So basically you want Real Madrid to win it all because pundits label them the best counter attacking team on Earth. Rightfully so when you have the speed of Ronaldo and di Maria.

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